When I ran the Volkslaufe 5k last year, I thought it was hot. The race is infamous for being miserably warm every year, especially the 5k since it starts 2 hours after the other races do. This year lived up to the reputation with temperatures in the 80s at race start combined with high humidity.
We hurried to the race early to see my brother-in-law finish his first 10k. He finished close to his goal time and made it in the top 10 of his age group! It was a rough race, though, as the temperature increased by almost 10 degrees from race start to his finish 48 minutes later.
On the way back to the car to meet up with my friend Paula I commented that I knew it was going to be a rough race since I was breaking a sweat just standing around and walking. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it was going to be to run a 5k on a somewhat hilly course! I knew I was not going to be breaking any records, nor did I want to. I planned to run with my hubby and his friend, doing run/walk intervals of one minute each. I was determined to stick to the intervals as much as I could and just survive the race.
The race started, and Paula took off in front of us. She has been training hard and doing so great, I didn’t want her to be held back by us and I knew there was no way I could keep up with her. Her training plan had her doing a fast 3 mile run this week so this was her opportunity! As for us… we ran the first minute and Ken complained about how awful it was and he was never going to make it. I told him not to judge the race by how he felt in that first minute because the race starts on an incline. Our next minute running was much smoother. The guys had me running faster than I have been used to running, especially in the heat – we were averaging about a 10 minute pace on our run intervals.
We took every chance we got to grab water, drink a little, dump the rest on us, and run through whatever sprinklers and hoses were available. We cannot thank the neighbors and supporters that were out today in Frankenmuth enough for standing out in the hot, humid weather, spraying water for us, and motivating us to keep going! I was seriously impressed by not only the spectators but also the brave souls running that still sported costumes, like the guy dressed as Forrest Gump. My tiny running shorts and tank top were soaked in sweat – I can’t imagine how that guy felt!
The guys were kicking my butt for most of the second half of the race. They would run ahead of me and then I would catch them during the next run interval before they took off again. We got to the 3 mile mark and Ken’s friend Mark said “Okay, we doing this?” And I said “Mark that finish line is further than you think!” haha. Normally sprinting a tenth of a mile would be no big deal, but today? Not happening! They both took off at the next run interval and I thought I’d be trailing behind them, but they slowed up and let me catch up to them. We ended up finish within seconds of each other – Mark in 40:00, Ken in 40:01 and me in 40:02. I think that’s the first time they’ve ever outran me!
The difference between last year’s race and this year’s race is absolutely incredible. Most of it was weather – an 11 degree difference at race start from last year, plus humidity to boot. Add to that a weight gain for both Ken and I of about 10lbs from last year and it is no wonder what we went from a 32:44 (me) and 33:44 (him) race last year to the 40 minute race this year.
After I finished I was looking for my friend Christine who was running the 20k. I expected her to finish before I finished the 5k, but our friends said they had not seen her yet. I was getting a little worried and walked away to see if I could see her running in. A few minutes later I went back to our friends and they said “We found her!” and I said “Good! Where?” And she was literally standing next to me, ha! Shows you how out of it I was after that hot race!! She finished not long after we did – in fact she crossed the finish just after I walked away to find my family and our other friends. I’m bummed I missed her finish although I hadn’t expected to see her finish anyway, but glad I got to see her and make sure she was okay! It’s scary when you haven’t rounded up all of your friends and you hear people calling for medical and telling you that people have been scooped up off course.
At the end of the day, we all survived. It may not have been the smartest thing we ever signed up for, but we did it! The next race in the series will be in October and HOPEFULLY it will be much cooler then.