Last year Ty and I were out of town when the rest of my family ran the Corndog Challenge 5k. The race is affiliated with the state fair. You have the option of running the classic 5k or the challenge 5k. The challenge 5k includes eating a caramel apple (an apple slice covered in caramel), drinking a beer or lemonade, and eating a mini-corndog during the 5k race. I wasn't too bummed to be missing the race as we were with Ty's family and enjoyed a hot dog roast that included a hay rack ride which was a blast, plus I wasn't sure about eating while running. It didn't sound too appealing to me. Then I saw the pictures of the race and it looked like a blast. Jeremy finished first overall and won two megaride passes to the state fair. He gave his second pass to Carter and they were able to ride unlimited rides for the entire duration of the fair. I was really looking forward to running the race this year and possibly winning megaride passes for Carter again this year. As we lined up at the start, Jeremy was standing behind me for his first race since nearly dying after being hit on a run back in January. While the national anthem was sung, I got tears in my eyes looking at the flag. I pictured 8 months ago, the first race we all ran without Jeremy. He was still in a coma at the hospital and I was hopeful that in a year we would be able to push him in a wheelchair during that same race. Here we were just 8 months later and Jeremy was lined up at the start of the race, ready to run with us. I honestly couldn't believe it and I still can't believe he was able to run the race. It has been a long, exhausting, and emotional 8 months and I can't believe it has led us to where we are. I am so incredibly thankful and amazed with Jeremy's continued recovery and gains in physical and mental functioning.
|Group shot before the race.|
There was a problem with the timing chip mat so the race ended up starting over 10 minutes late. The temperature was over 90 degrees and the wind was gusting like no other. I knew from looking at the course map that it wouldn't be a fast course as there were so many turns and loops. During my warm up I realized it was also going to be hillier than I expected. My goal was to win a megaride pass for Carter. According to past results, the winning time was typically around 24 minutes so I figured I should be able to do that. I also wanted to attempt to hit 6:45 pace overall which was what I ran at the July 4th 5k a few months back. Factoring in the wind, the heat, the course, eating food during the race, and the fact that I had done a few too many squats in the days leading up to the race, I felt that was a reasonable goal. I wanted to run hard enough to feel like I got a good workout in, but not too hard as I was hoping to get a long tempo run in on Sunday morning. I didn't want to run hard enough that I would need more than one day to recover. When we took off at the start we were running into the wind so I got a good feel for how strong it would be. I passed the first female by the half-mile mark and was feeling really comfortable. I figured unless there was a really fast woman who started too far back, I should be able to hold onto the lead. I went through the first mile in 6:35 and then saw a water stop ahead with a sign reading "Caramel Apples". I knew that meant we would be eating the slice of apple and grabbed one as I ran through. The apple was slippery and slid right out of my hand. I slowed down, ran back, and picked it up to eat it. In retrospect I should have gotten a new one, but in the heat of the moment I just picked it up and took off. It wasn't too bad eating it as I ran. I got a bit of apple peel stuck in between my teeth though and that irritated me for a while until I was able to get it out.
|Jeremy standing at the start with dad and Thomas.|
During the second mile we crossed over onto a loosely packed dirt path that just blew dirt up into our faces. We went down off of that onto a baseball field which I wasn't expecting. On the course map I saw a little loop between the 2k and 3k mark but didn't realize it was going to be on grass filled with potholes. I wasn't too pleased with the change in surface and could feel myself slow down as I was making all the sharp turns through the loop. The awesome part about running the loop was as I came out I saw dad going in followed closely by Jeremy. I was so excited to see them and to see that Jeremy was running so well. I cheered for them quite loudly. I also noticed that I had a considerable lead on the woman behind me. Right around the 2 mile mark I went through the aid station with lemonade and beer. I hadn't thought about which I was going to take before the race and at the last minute decided on lemonade. It was much harder to drink than I expected and I felt like drinking it slowed me down a lot more than eating the apple had. There were ice cubes in the drink which I chewed up as I got them in my mouth because that seemed easier than spitting them out. The cup was really full and it took me a while of running and sipping to drink it all down. It was also very sweet and I could feel it swishing around in my stomach afterward. I think next year I'll try the beer instead. My 2nd mile split was 6:52. I felt like I hadn't slowed down that much but I think between eating the apple, drinking the lemonade, and taking all the turns in the course, I just naturally slowed down. The first mile had the fewest turns of the entire course and was all on pavement.
During the 3rd mile we ran out on a road, turned around, and went down the other side with a median between the two sides. At that point I saw Jeremy again and we yelled for each other. He was looking really good and I could tell he was running a faster time than I had expected. I started worrying about eating the corn dog with how my stomach felt after drinking the lemonade. We went through a water stop with less than a half mile to go and I saw the sign for corn dogs as I went through it but there were only people passing out water, no one with corn dogs. So after all my worrying, I missed out on the corn dog. I went through mile 3 in 6:50 for a finishing time of 21:24 on the 3.17 mile course which my Garmin showed as an average of 6:45 per mile. I took off on my cool down and saw Thomas and dad finish so I cheered for them as I went. I missed Jeremy finish so I wasn't sure if he had finished in front of Thomas or if I just hadn't seen him go by. I ran out to Ty and the kids and ran to the finish with them. Carter was having a blast and told me all about seeing Oma run by. I went through the corn dog station with them during my cool down and grabbed a corn dog to eat since I hadn't gotten one during the race. Granted I was talking to Ty as I ate it, but I ended up aspirating it and coughing quite a bit so I was glad I had missed it during the race. Carter and Elise had enjoyed getting treats at each station because Ty passed them in some as he ran.
|Ty running by mom during the race.|
After the race Carter enjoyed playing on a bounce house and made a friend. Elise jumped a little bit before other kids came over and then she had to get out for safety reasons. She spent the rest of the evening running over to the bounce house and attempting to climb in. We each got a food ticket and a treat ticket which we could use for a large fair corn dog which was delicious and a beer. They also had free ice cream so we really raked in on the treats. I was trying to figure out where Jeremy had finished and how I had missed him and he didn't really say much so I went over and typed his bib number in to see his results. I was shocked to see he had finished first in his age group! I was also amazed that he averaged under 8:30 per mile for the race! We stayed for awards and I was so excited to get a picture of Jeremy receiving his medal. I finished 2nd out of 333 finishers overall, 1st out of 205 females, and 1st out of 47 in my age group. Thomas finished 9th overall and 5th out of 129 in his age group with a time of 24:49. Dad was 12th overall and 1st out of 13 in his age group with a time of 25:54. Jeremy was 17th overall and 1st out of 39 in his age group with a time of 26:17. Ty pushed the double stroller with both the kids. He was 70th overall and 13th of 39 in his age group with a time of 34:56. My mom had a really strong race, finishing in 36:32 which put her 82nd overall and 2nd out of 20 in her age group.
|Jeremy with his medal for winning his age group.|
|Mom and Jeremy after the race, you can see how big the corn dogs were here!|
I didn't feel sore on Saturday, the day after the race, and ran an easy 3 miles along with a strength workout. Sunday morning my legs still felt pretty good but I could feel that I had done squats in my thighs. I wasn't sure how a tempo run would go but I figured I'd go out and attempt it and at least run a faster paced long run if things didn't go well. Jeremy decided to run with me so I ran a two mile warm up with him and then took off for what I hoped would be a 9 mile tempo run. I didn't pay attention to my pace on the first mile of the tempo I just ran what felt comfortably hard. When my watch beeped for a 7:07 mile I was pretty stoked with how good that pace felt. I just continued on with what felt right and didn't look at my pace worrying. I figured if the wheels came off during the second half, oh well, I'd run a race on Friday and couldn't expect to have a strong tempo with just one recovery day between. But I was able to hit anywhere from 7:01-7:13 for the next 8 miles and averaged 7:07 pace for my 9 mile tempo! I was so excited with how it went. I definitely didn't go into the run fresh, having run the race on Friday and then done strength training on Saturday. I could feel that in my legs the last couple miles but was still able to push for 7:01 and 7:04 miles at the end. I had done an 8 mile tempo run two weeks prior with a 7:21 average. I was so impressed with how much faster I was able to run my 9 mile tempo! Last year I ran 8 miles at 7:17 pace two weeks out from my half-marathon and then averaged 7:15 pace for the race. With two months of training left before the race, I'm getting excited about where I am training-wise. I feel like things are starting to come together and I'm really seeing the fruits of my labor up to this point. Now I'm really excited to see what I can do this weekend at the Zoo Run 10k. I'm hoping for a strong race!