Well, Saturday morning we woke up at 630 AM, exhausted but knowing we had things to do! So I put on the running gear, put in the contacts and headed to the kitchen for oatmeal with half a banana and a splash of milk. The man is not a morning person, but he finally appeared in the kitchen about 10 min before departure time. The man's mom, the man and myself hopped into the mini van for the hour long trek to the small town of Dowagiac, MI for Steve's Run.
We got there with no problems and quickly made our way to late packet pickup outside the old train station. Music was playing and runners were getting excited. After a quick stop at the porta pots, we made our way to the start line, took a 4 min jog around a few blocks and waited for the fun to begin. Just before go time, they started playing Jock Jams which really got me pumped. Then they did a short speech and moment of silence for Steve, the former Southwestern Michigan College employee who had died of cancer a few years back. Now all the proceeds go to a scholarship fund in his name.
The race started downtown and we headed up a short incline, over the bridge and at about 3/4 of a mile is when the fun really started. This wasn't just your ordinary road race. This was a road and trail race. We first made our way across the golf course for a bit until we were forced to head up the hill and through a cemetary and then onto some seriously fun trail in the woods. Man, I was loving it!
As far as terrain goes, this course hit a home run! Hands down, the most fun and best variety I've ever experienced in a race. At one point they even had hay bails in the trail that you could hurdle if you were so inclined. Being 5'3" I can't seem to risk it, but the man reported that he did indeed hurdle the hay, as he's 6'4" and still holds the state record in 300 m hurdles.
After going up and down several rolling hills and around several corners through the woods and through the SWMC campus, we found ourselves back on the road. And boy, the legs were having NONE of that. For the first 1/4 mile back on the pavement, my quads were saying "um, what the heck??" After a bit they responded by picking up the pace.
About halfway in, a woman (shorter than myself) and prob in her 30-40s passed me with bare feet! She and I seemed to be the same pace because she stayed right in front of me for the next few miles. But when we hit that pavement, all i could think is "yikes, that must really hurt now." I'm sure it wasn't doing wonders for her pace either. On the trail I imagine it might have felt kind of cool and squishy, but not so much on the road.
She stayed ahead for the rest of the race, but when we turned the corner back to that first bridge we had crossed I just said to myself "keep moving. this hurts, but you're not letting No Shoes beat you!" But man, was she pushing it. In the last 200 meters I could hear and then see a woman coming up behind me trying to sprint past and I was even with No Shoes. That's when I said (in my head of course) "game on! give everything you have left in that tank!" So I sprinted, as fast as these legs could carry me. And I beat both of them!
Please notice the barefoot lady in light pink right behind me!
Alas, just as the 10k on 4th of July, the man was waaaay out in front of me. He finished at 45:52 or so, improving his time by a minute or so from the last one and I finished in 52:04, improving my time from the Butte to Butte by almost two minutes! Woohoo! It wasn't a 10k PR for me, but I'll take it!
Here we are just a bit hot and tired after the humid, but surprisingly cool race.
Division Place: 6/24
Overall: 241/1282 finishers