« Health & Fitness

Fifth Third Riverbank Run 5K

by Michael Louden

I was a very early riser on Saturday morning. I usually do get up around six or seven am for race day, but this day I got up at 4:30 am for a couple of different races. The first reason is the race took place at 7 am and second the race was located in Grand Rapids. That is right this was the weekend of the Fifth Third Riverbank run.

Around 7,000 total runners took place in the events which included the 5K, 10K, and 25K. I took part in the 5K getting back to running my favorite distance. I arrived in Grand Rapids around six am and parked in the parking garage and proceeded to the DeVos place to pick up my race gear and get my gear checked in. After this I did a little stretching and did a warm-up run before I ran into my friend Lars, who was taking part in the 25K, and his girlfriend who was running the 5K.

I headed toward the start line after we conversed for a few minutes and after the National Anthem we had a few more minutes before the race kicked off. I started up near the front and in the 5K race alone their were more than 4,000 runners taken part in the race. I saw Casey Jones from Channel 8 standing to my left playing with his Google Glass getting ready to film the race as he ran it. What I didn't know and found out later from my fiance Kathleen was Casey was actually recording before the start of the race and was looking at me so I was all over Channel 8's coverage of the Fifth Third Riverbank Run.

Once they blew the horn and we were underway I took off like a rocket. I wanted to try to test my limits and see how fast I could run the first mile. The first mile was mostly flat and we wound the way though the streets of Grand Rapids and we went by the first clock I was at six minutes flat and flying, but was wondering did I burn myself out.

Now with a big field like the Fifth Third run you would have thought their would be runners all around me, but no I had a big group of runners behind me and in front of me, but both of these groups were at least 50 yards ahead of me. During the second mile I was starting to feel tired and the course started to show its teeth as a few hills began showing up. We crossed a bridge over the river which was the coolest feature of the race. At the second mile I was at 12:45 for my time.

Right at the beginning of the third mile I had a couple of uphills to traverse and told myself to hold it together for the last mile. I hit a couple of downhills and passed a few runners and we ran through a tunnel and I then could hear the announcers on the next street over. I headed around the corner and the next and it was a straight shoot to the finish. I didn't have much of a kick because I had used up my energy in the first mile. I crossed the line with a time of 20:13, 10 seconds better than my best time this year, good for 66th overall and 12th in my age group. I was satisfied with how I ran and look forward to next year.

Next up is the Oaklawn Hospitality Classic this Saturday. I will be running in both the 10K and 5K, my second double of the year.