Summer Racing Season, Part 3: Rhodes Day's 5K, July 26, 2014, Rhodes, IA

About 2 weeks ago I realized I had this weekend free to race!  As I searched online, I stumbled upon a small town 5K that appeared to be on a crushed limestone trail.  This looked perfect.  I had just run the Grimes Farm Run 8K+ on July 12 and the Dizzy Goat 6 Hour on June 21.

This week however started off...a bit differently.  I headed to the Dr's office on Monday for a mole that had suddenly changed over the weekend.  It was checked and immediately removed right at the office.  While nobody really thought that there was anything wrong, I will admit to a moment of mild panic when I got a message that they had the results already the next day and wanted me to call them back.  I called and waited for a moment on hold, and...it was fine! Praise God!  (Whew!)

Then yesterday I had a long run planned but awoke to a thunderstorm and had to wait almost 4 hours to start my long run, (meaning my recovery time for today would be less than 20 hours).  Fortunately I was able to still get out and accomplish 15 miles.  But afterward, I felt like my body was crashing and my knees were quite sore.  How was I going to race a 5K the next day?

This morning I awoke at 5am and got around for the 60+ mile drive down to Rhodes from Parkersburg.  I had shared a big meal the night before at friends, so I wasn't really too hungry, but I had a cup of Runners Tea and grabbed a Clif protein bar at the gas station.  Along with a few Good & Plenty, (yeah, I know, weird b'fast) and a sports drink, that was all I had except for a gel and salt pill before the race.  

Packet pick-up was from 7:00am - 7:15am, but when I arrived a little early, people were already gathering and picking up their numbers and shirts.  After going thru registration, I decided to warm up...and my legs felt like tree trunks with sore knees attached to them.  I kept going thru my race prep and jogged a couple more times and things started to loosen up a bit.  Just before we started I introduced myself to a couple of the other guys, one a local and one from Des Moines.  We found out that the race was actually closer to 3.5 miles, an out and back to a cool looking local bridge along the trail.  It appears that this trail must've been a rail line at one time.  They have done a nice job of making it into a half horse trail (grass) and half run/walk/bike trail (fine crushed limestone). The run trail was wide enough for probably 4-5 runners side by side.

Just after 7:30am we started.  I watched the two guys I had met beforehand go to the front and head off into first and second, which is also how they would finish.  I knew however, that I needed to start off a bit slower, especially with 90%+ humidity and my tired legs.  The first stretch was fairly flat and then we moved up a small hill, crossed a gravel road and went down the other side.  Again the trail flattened out for a bit, and eventually I was able to move into what I thought was about 10th.  (You could pretty much see everyone in front of you for most of the race on the flat sections.)  Eventually, as we crested another hill, first place came flying back down from the other direction.  That's when I started counting to see where I was in the overall order. (Didin't I just run 15 miles the day before, where'd this competitive thought come from today? :))

I hit the bridge, aka our turnaround point, in 9th.  As the pair in front of me broke apart, one of them powered forward while the other walked and I was able to catch and pass him at this point.  Then, I could see 5th, 6th, and 7th in front of me.  I knew, if I could hold my pace and there was any breaking by the others, I might be able to move up. As 7th started pulling 6th back in, I knew I might have the possibility next, but we were also running out of time.  The seventh placed person passed 6th going up the last hill with maybe around 1/2 mile to go.  I had to start moving a bit if I was going to move up from 8th to 7th.  Finally, with about 1/3 mile to go, I was able to catch up and pass, heading for home and giving it what I had left.  

Who said small town races can't be fun and competitive!!!  I had a great race, it was very simple, intimate, and fun.  A great course!  Praise God for a 7th place in my 7th race of 2014! 

Isaiah 40:31 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run and not be weary; and They shall walk and not faint."  :)