The Crim is one of my favorite races of the year. The first time I ran it in 2015 I was a nervous mess. My last long run before the race was 8 miles and it was miserable. I was sure I was going to have a tough time. But I did not… I had a blast! The next year was even better. Although I did not get a personal best, I ended up experiencing the fun side of the Crim and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I stopped and had all of the goodies and even got to jump on a trampoline! I added almost 30 minutes onto my time from the first year, but I didn’t care.
This year I was determined to get a PR. I really wanted to get a sub 2 hour race, but I wasn’t counting on it. My friends that I was planning to run with had been dealing with injuries and my shin splints were acting up. I went back and forth between taking it easy and pushing for a PR, keeping my sights set on my full marathon coming up in October.
The night before Crim, my friends Brittany and Crissy came to my house and we drove to Flint together for packet pick-up and to watch our friends that were running the Michigan Mile. We met up with some other members of our running group and found our runners. Our friends did amazing in their mile! We hurried to the expo, picked up our packets, and then headed to have dinner at Pesto’s. I can’t go to Flint without stopping there! We shared an amazing pizza and of course we had to get some dessert to go. We tried to get to bed at a decent time, but we had the pre-race excitement. We finally got to sleep around midnight.
Race morning came, alarms went off way too early, and we got ourselves ready. Somehow we managed to leave my house on time to meet members of our local running group for caravan/carpool. It was still dark out! We got to the race and headed to the MLive building where our team was hanging out. Race nerves were running rampant in the crowd as I left to meet up with our local group again for a group picture. I realized then that I had forgotten to put on any body glide – BAD mistake! So I hurried back to the building to put some on, then hurried to the porta-potty because OMG I had to pee, and made it to my friend Paula JUST in time for the race to start!
As soon as Crissy and I met up with Paula and Brandon, the fun began. Brandon showed us his homemade “Gu” which looked very much like something else. We took selfies and got our watches ready for our 3/1 intervals we planned to run/walk. The weather was perfect – a little humid, but nice and cool, great race weather! When it was time for us to go finally, we took it easy. Our first mile was our slowest, just the way it should be. We saw our friends around a mile into the race, cheering us on. As we ran I had a sense of deja vu that I shared with Crissy – the race course felt like the one we had ran months ago at the 5/3rd River Bank Run in Grand Rapids. The three of us stuck together, chatting, joking, and having the best time you can have running 10 hilly miles!
Crissy was dreading the Bradley Hills. Last year those hills had intimidated her and slowed her down. Paula and I were determined that it was NOT going to happen to her this time! We had made several jokes by this time… talking about which one of us was the cream in our cookie sandwich, or in my case when I was in the middle – the ham in our sandwich. Crissy joked that she was the soggy bread. We all joked that the girls couldn’t stay straight around me. We had so much fun that we hardly noticed the hills were coming… and then we DEFINITELY noticed they were there. But our intervals pretty much timed out perfectly for tackling those hills, and we kicked some Bradley butt!
Of course, anyone who has run the Crim knows that although everyone always talks about how hard the Bradleys are, the rolling hills you encounter after Bradley are much tougher. We felt battle hardened, though, and we pushed on. We sang along to the entertainment along the roads. We even caught up to a fellow runner from our group, Jo, and she joined us for a moment before slowing back down. We really started to pick up the pace in the second half!
When we reached 7 miles and I saw our time, I had a realization. I told the girls, “Holy crap. We can do this in under 2 hours.” I started to get goosebumps and tear up. I never thought that I would do a sub 2 hour Crim ever, let alone do it this year! Realizing how close I was to this goal made me push even harder. Our running intervals were clocking in the 9-10 minute range, and we weren’t slowing down too much for our walks. We took our average mile pace from 11:30-12 minutes per mile down to 11-11:30.
At about 1 mile out from the finish, Crissy started to feel like she might get sick, so she told us to go on without her. At that point we knew she would not be far behind and we didn’t want her to get sick, but I wanted to push. Paula and I were kicking butt! We saw our friend Susie, taking her race mom duties VERY seriously, just before we approached the final turn of the race. I told Paula “Let’s walk for 30 seconds because when we hit that turn and hit the bricks, we are going to want to run!” So we walked… we turned the corner and everything in me said “RUN RUN RUN!” but I kept walking to save up the energy I knew I would need for that last sprint. When the 30 seconds was up, we ran, and we ran fast! My shin started to hurt but I wasn’t stopping. I was kicking the end of this race in the face. We heard our names cheered out to us and focused on crossing that finish line with a vengeance! We saw our friends waiting for us at the finish, yelling for us and congratulating us. I felt like I was going to puke, pushing as hard as I could to the finish. I stopped my watch and we had reached that goal – we finished in less than 2 hours!! Our pace for the last 0.14 miles (because the race was 10.14 miles long due to re-routing of the course for construction) was at 8:02 minutes per mile! DANG!
As soon as we crossed the finish line I gave Paula a big hug. That girl has pushed me in training runs and has brought me to 2 huge goals in racing this year: the sub 30 5k and the sub 2 hour Crim. I seriously can’t thank her enough for her support and friendship.
After I got my yummy grape popsicle and a granola bar post-race, we headed back towards the MLive building and I realized that my hubby would be finishing the 5k soon. I grabbed a spot at the finish line. I ended up almost missing his finish because he was running so freakin’ fast!!! I just barely got a video and pictures of him crossing. I am so incredibly proud of his progress at a runner and can’t express how wonderful it is having a partner to share the love of running with.
We partied it up at the MLive building with our running group, enjoying great food, music, laughter and drinks. It was a wonderful afternoon and everyone had a great time. Every year when I leave Crim I always think… I can’t wait until next year! And my hubby said next year he plans on doing the 10 mile!! It was a great day.