Oh Charlevoix. I really don’t know what I expected. The only good that came from this race was finishing as the second female. My finish time was 21:28, about a minute slower than I would have liked. I’d love to make excuses (the hills, the humidity, etc), but I really brought this one on myself.
I do not regret taking some down time and reducing my training between Shanty 2 Shorts and now. S2S was a miracle race. A dream. A huge accomplishment. And afterward my drive to train was completely used up. I needed a break, a chance to reset. Now I cannot wait to start tackling half training but I had one last 5k to deal with first.
And that attitude right there got me in the end. I had to “deal with” this 5k. I wasn’t excited to race; I was dreading it. I just wanted to get through it and move on the half. Before S2S I spent a lot of time visualizing the finish line. I was focused on finishing the race strong and getting a PR. Before Charlevoix I was wondering how much speed had been lost. How hard was the pace going to feel. How much would I fade in the last mile.
The 5k and 10k race start together at 7:15. So while lining up at the start, I made note of which runners were wearing 10k bibs. No point in racing against a 10k runner in the first half of the race. Before the race started the announcer asked who was running their first 5k/10k. A ten year old girl lined up at the front raised her hand. This will be important later.
The race started and if my bib analysis was correct I was in second place for the first mile or so. Areas of the course that were shaded felt great, but a few sections out in the sun felt awful, even this early in the morning. When the lead runners started to fade, I kept my pace even and came up alongside her. After about 10-15 seconds I started to pull away and didn’t see her again until the finish.
The race is an out-and-back course with an aid station at the turn around. I don’t usually grab water in a 5k, but because of the heat I grabbed a cup to pour over my head. It felt great. I slowed a little at this point to climb a hill. Somewhere in this section is when another female runner caught up with me. It was the little girl from the start line.
My strategy normally would have been to hang with her and try to out kick her at the end. Just like I did at S2S. In my head I imagine this going down as the little girl and I come into view of the finish line: I put on the speed and, taking advantage of legs that are twice as long, pass her right at the line. While the crowd boos me for taking the win away from a child. Maybe the announcer would say something too.
So I hesitated. I held back slightly. I already had my PR this spring. I already had a first overall too. And when I realized that maybe I should be making a bit of an effort since this was a race after all, I had completely lost my drive to push. My mental edge was gone. I finished in second place, 19 seconds behind first.
My favorite moment came after the race when I was talking to the woman I passed at mile 1. She ended up finishing in third, an improvement over her fourth place finish the previous year. We exchanged congratulations and I mentioned that the kid ended up with the win. Her response was bemused frustration that some of us actually have to train to be this fast.
My least favorite moment was actually after the race as well. The race website said awards at 9. The race volunteers told me awards at 9:30. Finally a few minutes after 10:00 I was handed my award. They would not hand them out before the awards ceremony and they would not mail them either. It was over two and a half hours of being held captive if I wanted my award. This was beyond frustrating. I’m glad I waited because the award is an awesome piece of granite in the shape of the lower peninsula.
With two less than stellar races in a row at Charlevoix and no desire to be trapped there for hours after the race, I’m officially done with Charlevoix. At least for a while. There are so many other races in Michigan that I could be signing up for that it just doesn’t make sense to keep going back.