One of my worst habits prior to races is checking the weather forecast incessantly for days… even weeks… before the race. I do this even though I live in Michigan and I know that the weather is likely to change about 800 times from the first time I look until race day. The forecast for Bruckelaufe was no different! A few days ago it looked like it was going to thunderstorm all morning. Then a day later the storms were predicted to stop long before race time. So, what did we get on this lovely October day?
We woke up to fog. And not long after, we heard rain pelting our house. Driving to the race we were in pouring rain and my husband was talking about not even doing the race. I reminded him that this race was totally his idea. I wanted to run the CMU Homecoming 5k today in honor of it being my first race 10 years ago, but he wanted to complete the Frankenmuth race series and get his sweet medal. I had seen a preview of the medal and wasn’t super impressed. But that is neither here nor there… we’re talking about the weather. I reminded Ken that we still had over an hour until race time and that what the weather was doing at this moment may be completely different than when we started the race.
When we arrived at the race, it was still raining. I had on a sweatshirt because although the temperature was pretty warm, the rain was making me cold. By the time we walked from where we parked to the race start, I was already warmed up. Plus the rain had mostly stopped, it was maybe just a light sprinkle by then. I found my friend Christine and we joined a couple of our other friends at the start. Ken and Mark stayed back a bit to run together. They announced that if lightning was seen we were to stop and seek shelter on the course and that they may pull us off the course. We all hoped that would not happen – we didn’t need another delay like Crim! The next thing we knew the cannon was fired and the race was starting, a few minutes early.
As we ran up the first hill, I saw our friend’s daughter and asked her if I could give her my sweatshirt. I had it tied around my waist but I knew it would feel better to not have it on me at all. I tossed her my sweatshirt and someone commented that she was a good friend. I said oh absolutely! She’s an amazing race mom!
Our pace felt challenging but good. The course itself is a little challenging, with some long, gradual inclines, but it also has some good downhill sections where you can catch your breath. It is familiar territory for me since my friends and I run in Frankenmuth often. So there’s no surprises for me. I know the ups and downs. We hit our first mile at a 10:59 pace. I was pretty happy with that, and thought “Okay we can probably manage negative splits here.”
Sometime after mile one, the rain really started to come down. It was just absolutely pouring. We were avoiding puddles and slippery spots in the road. We were soaked. Our feet were sloshy. Most people would say these were miserable conditions, but I was doing okay. I was glad that I had a hat on and for a while I was glad I had my glasses on. Towards the end of the race my glasses got really foggy and it was hard to see anything. We hit mile 2 at a 10:42 pace and I told Christine we were rocking out negative splits. I said, “We got this! Let’s finish this!” and we pushed that last mile. Right around when we hit mile 3, two things happened. We realized we were close to catching up to our friend Joyce and our friend Josh found us to run us in.
Mile 3 was a 10:11 pace and we weren’t slowing down! We pushed to catch up to Joyce and Josh gave us some helpful hints to finishing the race. He told us to stay close to the flags so we could see where we were going and to get to the sidewalk as soon as we could rather than running on the grass for the finish. We hit that sidewalk and caught up to Joyce. As we got to the grass we took off in our final sprint, hearing Josh tell us to push it to the end, and the three of us all crossed the finish line together! It was awesome! My last 0.11 ended up being at 8:26 pace! DANG! My overall finish time was 32:46, a 10:33 pace, my fastest 5k since January.
We met up with my brother in law Joe who was also finishing the series of races today. He was hoping to place in his age group, and he did! He ended up getting third place and winning a growler for his performance today. Ken and Mark finished strong and we all got our medals – they were a lot nicer than I had expected! So although we all got soaking wet, overall it was a good day. I don’t know if we’ll do the series again next year (I love Winterlaufe, but the weather has been iffy for the other two races the last couple of years… either super hot or rainy) but who knows… the promise of the big bling might bring us back again!