Sunday, January 8, 2012

5/3 River Bank 25k Race Rewind (05/14/2011)

Coming off of running my first half marathon that was a complete success I was feeling pretty good about myself. The race was on Sunday and I had Monday off from work to recover and relax. I was happy with the effort and results from the race and was excited and looking forward to the next challenge.

After taking Monday as a rest day I went for a 7 mile run with my friend Timis who I met just a month earlier with the EPIC Crew. Tom had run the Kalamazoo Marathon on Sunday so both us wanted to take it easy for the week. During our run he had mentioned that he was going to be an official pacer for the 5/3 River Bank 25K in Grand Rapids coming up that Saturday. He was pacing the 9:00 group which for him would be a nice easy pace and a good recovery the week after the marathon. I knew there were a few people from EPIC running the River Bank so I started thinking about taking on the 10K.

Last year I ran the 10K at River Bank and it was my first 10K ever. I chalk it up as a success but it wasn't the race I intended it to be and almost didn't happen. I registered for it the week before after some persuading from my friend Brett. The night before the race I met a friend for dinner and next thing I knew it was 11:00 PM and I had a few too many cerveza's for the night before a race....whoops!

When I met Brett at 5:30 AM and hopped in his car to ride up to GR the first thing he said was "Wow! You smell like a brewery!". I was hungover to say the least. It was a cold and wet morning and I took it easy for the first half and hung on for the second half. I finished my first 10K so it was a PR but I knew it wasn't anywhere near my best.
The Route

Thursday I noticed a thread on the EPIC facebook page that Timis and his wife and a couple others were going up to GR Friday night to register for Saturday's race. I commented asking if they had room for one more because I wanted to get some redemption for my hungover 10K from last year. They had room but it quickly turned into a post of peer pressure haha. "If you're going to do the 10K you might as well do the 25K" said Tonya, Timis' wife. Though I saw flaw in her logic it was enough of a tempt to get me thinking about it. That and they told me I could only ride home with them if I registered for the 25 lol. Why not, go big or go home right?

At the Kalamazoo half I made sure to go out easy at the start and stay on the pace I had planned and pick it up in the second half. This was the same startegy I planned on using for the 25K.

Race morning came and it wasn't as cold as last year but it was raining pretty good while we watched the start of the 5K and the 10K. Lucky for us the rain let up for the most part by the start of our race and temperatures were favorable. I started the race with my friend Scott and we planned on hanging around a 7:30 pace for the first few miles. I kept the pacers in sight and kept a watchful eye on my garmin. After the first mile I dropped pace to 7:20's for the next three. I had a couple of Honey Stinger packets on me and took my first one at mile 5ish and got a little bit of a surge.

The Home Stretch

By mile 7 I found myself feeling good and cruising along at a 6:45 pace. I wasn't sure how I felt about this mentally since in last week's half I didn't get down to that pace until mile 9 but physically I felt strong so I figured I'd go with it. I stuck close to that pace and felt pretty good using cheers from the crowd and Honey Stingers to propel me forward. A couple of rolling hills in the second half upped the challenge a little but I still felt strong and was still actively passing people which is always a confidence booster!

With 3.5 miles to go I had pushed myself down to a 6:30 pace knowing that if I kept pushing it I could catch the 7:00 pace group which just happened to be led by a couple guys from EPIC. I finally spotted them with a mile and half to go but they were still a bit ahead. By the time I caught them we were within a half mile from the finish and they. were. skipping. SKIPPING!!!! I told them I just busted ass trying to catch them and when I get there I found them SKIPPING like school girsl haha! Apparently they were worried they were going to be too quick for pacing and wanted to scrub some time lol. They said I looked strong and told me to kill it to the finish! I took off and felt strong kicking it in to the finish!

Before the race I had heard that if you finish in under 2 hours you get a special bib the following year and a seperate staging area before the race! I didn't know if I'd be able to get there, heck I wasn't even sure what pace I'd need to get under 2 but I liked the idea of doing it. Do it I did! I crossed the finish line with a 1:47:43!!!! Nailed it! I was so excited with the race and definitely glad I gave into the peer pressure! Even more exciting was that my average pace was quicker than my half time from the week before!
Myself and Scott rocking our new bling!

After we found everybody and enjoyed some free chair massages and our post race beers we had lunch at TGI Fridays and headed home. Race season was in full swing and I was Uber excited for the coming months and once again couldn't wait for the next big race!


  1. Great pacing! It's nice when a race comes together like this.
    How do you like the honey stingers compared to other gels?

    1. I've only had the gold flavor but I liked it. Pretty sweet though so if you're not one who likes honey it probably wouldn't be a good choice. As far as energy wise I seem to notice a quicker, bigger boost than gu but it doesn't seem to last as long. Not really a big deal but I don't like the packaging as much either, the corners are Sharp and can get annoying depending on how you carry them during the run.