Saturday, May 9, 2009

32nd Annual 5/3 Riverbank Run

This year's 5/3 Riverbank Run has come and gone and I am happy to say that it was an unqualified success. I picked up by race credentials Friday night after work, then I headed to Jenison for a pre-race pasta dinner hosted by my friend and race ringleader Paul Ryan. Members of the team met a little before 7PM to "carb up" and catch up on what has been going on in the lives of us all. I left for home about 8:30PM, arrived a little before 9PM and I was in bed by 10PM.

Because the 5K race started at 7:30AM this year (usually this is the last race to start), that necessitated a 6:45AM team join up, which meant a 5:15AM wake up. I awoke once during the night to the sound of rain. Not a little "pitter patter" but more like a "Honey, let's pack up the ark" kind of rain. I was hopeful that by the time Sol came out that the weather would moderate a little. When my alarm went off, it was still raining...

I got up, enjoyed a little high protein and carbohydrate breakfast, and got suited up for the race. Dee decided this year to drive me downtown and I am glad that she did. There were over 17,000 runners this year so parking would have been crazy. Thankfully, the rain had stopped right as we left the house to head downtown. She dropped me of a few blocks away from our marshaling point (the 5/3 Bank Building) which was just a few steps away from the starting line of the race.

Paul Ryan (who is an VP with 5/3 Bank) was already there, and I was the first team member to arrive. You see, because of Paul's position with the bank, we have access to the inside of the bank (recall that it is a few steps away from the finish line) so we can stretch, drink some water, make a pit stop, etc., before the race. The rain stayed at bay, though it was a little cool. Actually, the weather was perfect for a run in my book. Overcast and cool, with a slight hint of precipitation in the air. I was hoping that the rain would stay in the clouds for just a little while longer to allow me to be dry during my run. Little by little, other team members showed up and by 7:15AM we had a quorum. Final potty stops were made, as well as the intake of a little more water by those who needed it, and a team photo was taken. The rain stayed in the clouds as we headed to the starting line.

Though we ran as a team, we did not run together as a team. The important point was that all of us were under the Navy flag. This allowed some of the "rabbits" in the team to take off and sprint ahead, while the more aged people (like me and Paul!) took our positions in rear of the race pack and awaited the start.

The 5K race had literally thousands of runners, so it was going to take a while for everyone to cross the starting line. Paul and I patiently waited as the masses of people ahead of us slowly started to run as they approached the starting line. About 3 1/2 minutes after the official "start" of the 5K race, Paul and I crossed the starting line.

Paul and I started a slow jog as we were surrounded by other runners, some of them faster than us, and some of them slower. Our goal today was to finish, we were not that concerned with our time. To be frank, I have not had a lot of time to train with the lousy weather Michigan has seen the past few weeks, plus the bronchitis I am still fighting. Paul and were "in the van," keeping the flanks and rear approaches to the team safe as we made our way through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids, with a route that twice crossed the Grand River. As has been customary the past few races, Paul and I run at a conversational pace and we catch up on the things that have been going on in our personal and professional lives. We were running at about a 8:30/mile pace, which is pretty good for us. In what seemed like no time, we had run back across the Grand River and were on the home stretch for the finish line. I finished with a respectable time of 26:17. Not my personal best, but faster than last year.

Throughout the race, the rain stayed away. However, just as I crossed the finish line, a few drops began to fall, which then turned into a full fledged down pour. Paul and I headed back to the bank where our non-running gear was stored and we got a little damp as we made our way back. I collected my things, and waited for the rest of the team to reconstitute. After a few minutes, most of the team gathered at our marshaling point, where we all congratulated each other on a well run race. About 20 minutes after the race, I said my goodbyes and headed to my pick up point.

I called Deirdre as I was walking to our agreed upon pickup point. All the while, the rain just kept coming down. I managed to make it to our rendezvous point, and stood under a tree to avoid the rain. After just a few minutes, Dee drove up and took me home.

It was a fun race and I am happy to still be a part of the Navy Team. Now if I can only start training for the next Riverbank Run on 8 May, 2010...


Lisa said...

Congratulations on a great race. Sounds like you and the rest of the Navy team had a wonderful morning!


Bob said...

Congratulations Paul on a successful and fun race.