Last Saturday I made a trip over to Battle Creek for the Battle Creek Spring into Action 5K/10K run. I entered myself into the 5K event which is the distance I love to run. It took me a while to get my gear because I thought I was picking up my bib and shirt in the high school. It turns out I had to go over to the middle school. Once I got past that confusion I grabbed my gear and dropped it off in my car and went for a short warm-up run and then stretched before the race.
Close to 180 total runners were taking part in the events. Both the 5K and 10K started together on the Lakeview track. Once the starter said 'Go' we were off. I started off in the lead heading around the track and out onto the course and was already building a lead on the second place runner and I followed the bikers along the course. Most of the course is nice and flat with just a couple of inclines. A few spectators were scattered along the course cheering the runners on and it brought a smile to my face. The first mile was mostly a straightaway and I almost missed the first mile and would have if it wasn't for a guy calling off the times. I wanted to run around 6:20 for the first mile and I was at 6:22 so a great start and where I wanted to be. I took a quick look behind me to see where the closet runner was and I estimated they were about 20 seconds behind me.
Now last year I had led the first mile in this race before getting passed around the halfway point, so I was hoping this was not going to happen again. I kept winding through the residential neighborhoods and pacing off the bikers which was a unusual experience for me since I have never been in the lead where the bikers paced me. (Last year a 10K runner was way ahead of me and had all of the bikers with him when I led the 5K).
I approached the water stop and a big group of students were there cheering me on and then the 5K and 10K courses split off and I hit the two mile mark and my second mile was a 6:43 mile and I checked behind me again the runners were well behind me. I was cruising to an overall victory.
After I headed up the final small incline and got to end of the side street I was once again back on my way to the Lakeview track as this last section was a repeat of the first half mile of the race. The bikers led me back to the track and then I was on my own. I got back on the track and was 300m away from the finish line and the wind was slamming into me, but I pushed through it and rounded the turn and then sprinted toward the finish line and came across the line in a time of 20:23 and first place overall, 55 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
I was so thrilled. Their had been races I was third or in the top 10 but not close to the winners time. All of the pieces fell into place and I will never forget my first overall victory.