Fifth Third Riverbank Run 2012 Race Report
There is only one race that I can say I have run 4 times and in the same breath say “I Hate that race”. The 5/3rd Riverbank run was held on May 12th, 2012 and was celebrating its 35th anniversary. I ran this race the first time in 1996 or 1997, again in 2003 while I was still in shape as a runner. In 2010 I ran it as a milestone from losing 50 pounds and skipped last year to run in New York. I don’t remember why I signed up for the race this year, but I signed up on the opening day of registration along with my wife and her friend Sarah. They got cool training t-shirts while I was happy with nothing but knowing I would be running a 25K on roads.
Mind you I really don’t care much for roads and haven’t ran too many races on them for that “don’t care much” reason. The course is simple: Start in Downtown Grand Rapids and run out to Johnson Park in Grandville 7 miles with the Grand River on your right, cross a bridge and run 8.5 miles back to within a block of where you started. There are a few hills on the course, all between miles 8 – 11 and they are all well known. Most of the course is shaded, and wide enough not to fight with too many runners. Doesn’t sound too bad when you compare the course to many of the other road race options.
For some reason I am a whiny crying little baby when it comes to this race. On a weekly basis I run 13-18 miles at a time on trails and don’t think twice about it. I enjoy almost every step and vision myself running the 5/3rd with the same amount of ease. Then I get to the race and throw everything out the window. The announcer started the count down and with it announced we would be joining almost 7000 other runners on the certified 25K course. My goal was to join the 8 min/mile pace group hoping to catch up to the 7:46 min/mile (Under 2 hour group). The mob of runners started and I guessed I had 1:30 – 2 minutes of “start time” to throw into the mile split times. The race started okay. I ran well for the first 6-7 miles and felt like I was under the 2 hour split mark. I was losing about 5-10 seconds of my cushion on each mile, but felt like I had it in me.
For some reason the crowd didn’t spark anything in me, and I started losing it after leaving a friend in the dust at 5-6 miles. I caught up to Ryan (Fun Running Ryan) at about mile 3 and ran well with him and we lost each other during a traffic jam. I assumed he would catch up as we passed a person, but he disappeared and I think with it my ambition. As I started to feel the lack of road mile training in my legs the time slipped away. The half way point came and went and I was now 4 minutes behind the 2 hour mark and losing pace every step.
Its weird how you can be on a course with 6999 other runners and feel absolutely alone. For some reason no one wants to talk, joke, or even smile. What the hell is wrong with running when you can’t enjoy it? This little revelation really hit home just as the hills started. People around me were breathing so hard I couldn’t hear my foot steps. I admit I was probably the loudest runner on the course with my RunAmoc Dash Shoes slapping the ground with each step. My barefoot form has always made me louder than my friends. In fact Ryan said he would have guessed it was me when I ran up on him at the 3 mile mark. It doesn’t matter what shoe I wear, the sound is the same. (Except on trails).
I ran the last miles with disgust at myself and throwing a pity party. I walked more than once “because I had to” and just gave up. I looked around and no one else seemed very happy about running, and I just wanted to get done. I did my best to thank the volunteers and crowd as I sulked by, but I wasn’t getting any happier. As the miles counted down I just couldn’t dig deep and finish strong. I turned the last corner and just ran. No smile, no happiness, just a sulky 25K finish.
My wife and Sarah found me quickly and pointed out my bleeding nipples and sulky attitude. I was ticked off and just wanted to go home. What was wrong with me that day I might never know, but I know that I should’ve appreciated just the fact I was able to run. I was running for Kids Hope, and running a race that just 2 years prior celebrated such a big accomplishment. Between the bleeding nips, sore muscles, and malaise I finished the race. I should be happy.
Things that went well: My RunAmoc shoes are great for road. Besides a little sore spot on the bottom of my foot from not tying them tight enough the shoes performed well. I liked the shoes verse running in sandals because I didn’t have to worry about stuff getting between the sole and my foot. I wore Injinji socks and they also worked well. After running more than 70 miles in the RunAmoc Dash shoes I think its time for a review.
Overall Time: 2:10:39 over 40 seconds faster than I an it in 2010, so I guess a 25K PR.
Question: Have you ever had a race you just hated?