This morning my wife and I ran a 5K as part of the annual Champaign Park District’s CU on the Trails event. The idea behind the race is for people in the community to become familiar with the parks in Champaign and the running/walking trails that are associated with each one.
This was our third year participating in the race. The running conditions were not ideal, but they weren’t terrible either (40 degrees with rain).
Two years ago I ran in this event while pushing a double running stroller. I don’t recall my exact time, but I remember that it took me a while to run 3.1 miles. Today, only 15 or so runners showed up for the 5K. Everyone blamed the rain and wind for the low turnout.
Before the race, I thought I would do something different and try to keep up with the lead runners. For nearly two miles I was in third place, right behind the first and second runner. But then I ran out of steam and quickly realized that I needed to slow down.
At about this time, I approached a race volunteer and asked “how much longer?” He replied, “About two more miles, you’re almost halfway.” I had a hard time believing that I was “almost halfway,” but I kept going at my new (slower) pace.
When I crossed the finish line (a tree branch), nobody was there taking people’s times, and so I called out to the race organizers “Time?!” and one lady said, “9:37.” I smiled, but was too tired to laugh.
As I drank water and munched on a granola bar, my wife told me that some of us (she and I included) took the wrong “trail,” which put an additional 3/4 mile on the run. I think that information made us feel somewhat better about our times.
Our next 5K will be for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in two weeks. However, I guarantee I won’t be able to keep up with the lead group in that event!
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert