Saturday, June 6, 2009

Melissa's Sunburst Experience

Today's race day began with a flurry of activity. Greg and I knew we had to get up at 6:00 am in order to get everything together and to be in front of the College Football Hall of Fame for the 10k this morning. We got up, showered and got dressed in record time (for us) and rushed out the door at 6:50 so we could get to downtown South Bend for our 10k, which was set to begin at 7:45. By the time we got down there of course there was no parking available (because the gun time for the 5k was 7:15), so we ended up parking in front of the house my Dad lived in before he moved to Florida, which he is currently renting out. As we made the mile trek to the Hall of Fame we ran into the runners beginning the 5k and had to cut down a couple different streets to avoid the onslaught of people! We got to the Hall of Fame and took a couple of pre-race photos so we could remember the race and then got in line and we were off!

Of course Greg was gone like a shot out of the starting gate. He tends to run faster than I do so we've decided we will run separately for these races so we can see how we do time wise. I expect he will always be faster than me, after all he is 8 inches taller than I am! As we got going I also got caught in a glut of people that were going a little bit slower than I generally pace myself at and it took me about the first 1/4 mile to be able to get to the outside so I could find a group of people that was running at my pace so I could effectively pace myself. I was very excited when we got to mile marker one and I realized I was really doing this. Granted we've been running 6-7 miles every Sunday for the past month but to actually be running a distance in a real race was an incredible feeling for me. This was also where we went up our first hill. I was dreading the hills since last year this was the part of the 5k that totally killed us (other than not being as in shape as we wanted to be). I went up that hill like a champ and continued the run down the St. Joe river enjoying the scenery and thinking about the finish line. Around mile marker 3 the guy that was leading the actual marathon passed us with his 2 cop escort. It was neat to realize I was running with elite athletes! As we were running through some of the South Bend neighborhoods it was fun to see the families on their front lawns cheering the runners on! My favorite yards however were the ones where the sprinklers were placed at the edge of the yard so you could run through it and cool off slightly. The next couple of miles were fairly uneventful until I reached the point where we made the turn up the hill that nearly killed me last year. I ran up it with no problems and nearly cried as I realized how far we have come in the past 5 months. We have really worked for this and I felt incredible. When I got to mile marker 5 I knew I was really going to run the whole thing and I sped up. There is a point where you make a turn and all you see ahead is the Golden Dome of Notre Dame and it was an awesome feeling to be able to run towards it and know that I was going to end up running across the 50 yard line at Notre Dame stadium. From this point forward I picked up my pace a little bit and started running faster towards the stadium. As I approached the ND tunnel I reached a full on sprint and flew through the tunnel out on the field. I could see the finish line and there was Greg with the camera waiting for me! I ran across the finish line and all I could do was just hug him because I was so proud of us! This was quite a contrast to last year when I felt so awful after the race I didn't want anyone to touch me.

Greg's parents were there to greet us but as I looked around the stadium I couldn't see them. So we loaded up on some post race fruit and popsicles and ventured into the stadium to find them. When we finally spotted them we realized they brought our puppy in with them to greet us! It was so great to see her after our run. She greeted us with lots of kisses and love. We sat back listened to some music, enjoyed our snacks and watched some of the marathoners finish before we took April back out on the 2 mile trek back to the car.

All in all it was a great race. I was kind of disapointed in the mile markers, they did not do a very good job of marking them so you knew clearly which race they were for which was a little frustrating. I loved the Meijer post race food and look forward to coming back next Spring to run again!

No comments:

Post a Comment