Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cheesetown Challenge 5 Mile Race Report

Yesterday, David and I went to Pinconning, MI so I could run the 5 mile Cheesetown Challenge race. Pinconning is the cheese capital of Michigan, hence the name of the race.

We arrived a couple of hours before race time so I could get my packet and we could check out the Cheesetown Festival. The race packet included a sample of Pinconning cheese, which we promptly devoured. Then we went to a cheese store, bought some cheese and stashed it in the cooler we'd brought along for that very purpose. The race was at 6:30pm and it was flipping hot, sunny, and humid. Not great race conditions!

When it was almost race time, we went to the start line and I realized that this was a very small race. I also realized that everyone else looked pretty serious and more fit than I am. I looked at David and said "I think I'm going to be last." The race started and my premonition came true - everyone took off and I was lagging behind almost immediately. I tried to keep up, but there was no way. I'm slow and that wasn't going to change during the course of the race. So I settled down and decided to go at my own pace.

What I learned is that when you're in last place at a tiny race where the roads aren't closed, you may well have a police car trailing right behind you to make sure that no cars come run you over. I had no idea how pressure-filled it is to be in last place! :)

There were a couple of people not too far ahead of me who didn't know how to pace themselves, so they were taking frequent walk breaks. Every time I caught up to them, though, they'd start running again. I guess I was their inspiration. :)

I was debating just dropping out of the race because I hated having that police car right behind me. Then I considered running alongside the car so I could chat with the officer while I was racing. But then at the two mile mark, my minor miracle happened. The two people who were just ahead of me could no longer maintain their pace, so they fell behind me. Hooray, someone else could have the cops on their tail!

I kept plugging away, checking behind me occasionally to make sure nobody was gaining on me. There were occasional spectators along the course and they were unfailingly kind and encouraging to me, which was pretty funny. Hard to take it seriously when someone says "great job" when you know better. :) At every mile marker, there were volunteers calling out split times. I told the volunteer at mile 3 not to tell me, because I didn't want to know. (And I was wearing my Garmin, so I knew anyway.)

With about three quarters of a mile to go, I caught up to another runner. He asked me how I was doing and I said that I was still making forward progress, so I figured that was a good sign. I asked how he was and he said he was struggling. He started to get ahead of me a bit, then he said "oh no, cramps again" and started walking. I wished him well and kept on going. Felt bad, but also was pathetically happy to pass someone else.

As I approached the finish line, I could see David taking photos so I tried to pick up the pace and look like a real runner. I will post pictures once I get a chance to pull them off his camera.

I finished the race right around the time I thought I would. It's interesting that I would have felt great about my finish if there had been more people behind me, but the same time felt like failure when I was so close to the end. I need to get a little better at only feeling competitive with myself and not worrying about what everyone else is doing.


desertrunnergirl said...

SO proud of you, Cathy! You kept going even with that police car on your tail. I can only imagine the anxiety that would have created in my head and for you to stay as positive as you did and pass people and FINISH is fabulous!

Cathy said...

Thanks! I am somewhat ashamed that I thought about quitting, but very glad that I stuck it out.

Anonymous said...

dear Cathy, Hello I was that girl that wasn't paceing herself I had that hat on and it flow off 2 times. The heat was so hot I thought I was going to die. I haven't ran in 7to 8 yrs and I know I could do a 2mile race.So I told everyone my time would be around 50 mins and it ended up being 58mins all because I told a boy I would run with him he didn't want to quite and I mad him make it to the end.I am very proud of each and every running that day. I came in the race 4th to the last but I made it I now no my body can run 5 miles now I am going to start to train for the next on good luck on races to come and happy running. P.S. Your story was just like mine in a way the cops were up my butt I even asked how fast I was running he said 6 so my pace should be around 5 going to get a watch t help me with the run

Cathy said...

Good job finishing the race! It was definitely not easy, and much harder with the police car right there providing pressure. Soooo hot, really hard to run in that weather.