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Classic race recap: Run to Climax 7K 5/27/13

by Michael Louden

Since I did not have a race this weekend I am going to recap of a race I ran earlier this running season.  I will do this once in a while when I do not have a weekend race.  

The Run to Climax 7K was the second time this season I was trying to run a race farther than a 5K.  The first time was at the OEC Eco Trail Runs on April 20th.  I ran the 8K race that day along with the 4K race just before the 8K race began.  Running the 8K was a success as I paced myself with Peggy Zeeb, one of the veteran running members of the Kalamazoo Area Runners.

For the 7K race in Climax this was my plan as well since I did not want to start as fast as a 5K race and burn myself out.  My goal for the race was to run 30 minutes or under.  I had never been to Climax before and when I arrived it felt like a small town and it was a great feeling.  Running races out in the country is great, not that I do not like running in the city.  I found my way to start line after stretching before the race.  The start of the race was a real "bang" as the starting gun was a shotgun being fired.  We were off and I ran right next to Peggy and we ran at a really good clip in the first mile as we were at 6:30 which felt like a pretty easy mile.  

However at this point I was a lot of pain.  Three days before the race I had accidentally fallen and landed on my fist and shoved it into my ribs while I was throwing a Frisbee with my friends.  I did not feel the pain the next day during the Kalamazoo K5K, but this day it felt horrible.  The pain just wasn't in my ribs, but I felt it all the way to my back.  Every breath I took hurt.  My running form was not great this day as I had to lean my back forward a little to relieve some of the pain.  

Now Peggy and I were still cruising along in the country side and we approached the two mile mark and our time was at 14 minutes as our pace had slowed.  We were still passing runners though so this was OK.  Our pace then started to pick up in the third mile and we were heading past the corn fields heading back to town.  The pain though was starting to slow my pace down and I was struggling to keep up with Peggy.  

At the end of the third mile Peggy started to pull away from me as I was doing my best to hang on to my pace.  We still had 1.35 miles to go at this point.  One runner passed me in the last mile and with about a half mile to go I began to pick up my pace again as I began my kick to the finish.  The pain was still there, but I was not going to let it stop me from beating my goal.  I got back to town and made it around the corner and the finish line was about 100 meters away and sprinted the hardest I could toward the finish.

I crossed the line in pain, but was happy with my result as I finished under 30 minutes with a 29:45 time and took 18th overall.  Peggy had finished with a time of 29:34 so I kept her in my sights the last mile. I was even surprised that I took 1st place in my age group, so that was a bonus.  Next year I will beat my time because I won't be in pain this time.  It was a great race with a mostly flat course out in the country.  The Run to Climax 7K is a staple of Memorial Day and a classic race.  I cannot wait until next year.