I ran the Kinsman KTown 5K this past Saturday. As mentioned in my earlier post about the Kinsman KTown 5K, I was really excited about this race because I would have the opportunity to run in front of my grandparents and aunt who live in Kinsman!
Kinsman is an hour and twenty minutes from Cleveland, and I headed out at 7:25AM hoping that I wouldn’t encounter any delays en route. I had high hopes for getting there earlier and trying to scope out at least part of the course, but that just didn’t happen.
When I left Cleveland, the sun was shining. As I drove east, though, the skies became increasingly grim. With the Cleveland Marathon approaching in less than a month, I am becoming increasingly safety-conscious during my training runs and life in general, and I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of running on slick pavement in an unfamiliar place.
I listened to a steady diet of upbeat music on the way down and I was pretty pumped when I turned onto the familiar town square of Kinsman and saw the runners beginning to congregate. Kanye West’s My Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kanye\Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne never fail to help me get my focus!
I arrived at my aunt’s house at 8:40AM. She lives within spitting distance of the starting line, and I made it to the registration desk with what I thought was plenty of time to register, use the bathroom, warm up, and get ready for a great race.
Unfortunately, the line for the port-a-potties moved at a glacial place. I would have just waited until after the race, but I had hydrated myself exceptionally well on the way down (TMI? Sorry!) and I knew I couldn’t wait. In retrospect, I probably should have just ran to my aunt’s house to do my business because this would have been faster and provided me with a warmup run.
I managed to stretch a bit and improvise a bit of a warmup, but I didn’t feel loose at all when the announcement for the beginning of the race came over the loudspeaker.
As I headed towards the starting line, I attempted to start up my GPS watch. I have done this multiple times without a problem. Of course, I encountered a problem at the start of the race! Although I eventually got it to work shortly after the start, I was slowed down a bit by this issue.
Murphy’s Law was in full effect during the first mile, and I probably don’t even need to mention that fumbling around with the uncooperative track wheel on my iPod also served as another distraction.
What’s the moral of the story? Get to the race site with more time to spare!
To make matters worse, my water bottle burst open in my jacket and my right side was soaked. Thank God that I kept my phone and iPod on my left side! Unfortunately, the water spillage made it look like I had wet myself. (Probably TMI again…)
When I finally checked my GPS watch after about 3\4 of a mile, I noticed that I somehow was far ahead of my ideal pace time. I actually think that I ran faster while dealing with all of the distractions because I was feeling panicked. As was the case during the Bay Village Snoball 5K earlier in the year, I wound running too fast early on and this made the second mile a bit difficult.
Fortunately, I saw my family waving signs outside of my aunt’s house shortly after the first mile. This was very encouraging, and their enthusiasm helped me power through the beginning part of the second mile!
I eventually settled into a decent race pace around the first water stop, which was located shortly before we ran past Kinsman Lake. Although I have visited the area dozens of times throughout my 32 years, I never knew that such a big, beautiful lake existed in Kinsman!
As I ran by the lake, I slowly felt my strength start returning as I intentionally slowed my pace a little. The water stop was placed in a manner that allowed me to get another drink before the final stretch.
As I turned onto the final stretch, I saw Kinsman’s famous Octagon House. This the home in which Clarence Darrow grew up! For those of you have seen Inherit the Wind, Darrow is the lawyer who defended John Scopes, who was a teacher who was arrested for teaching evolution in Tennessee back in the 1920s.
I misjudged the distance of the Octagon House from the finish line and thought that I had much farther to go than I actually did. (This may have been a good thing, though, because the finish line was located at the top of a small hill!) Nevertheless, after checking my watch and conserving my energy for just a bit longer, I saw that a PR was possibly within reach if I pushed myself to the limit, and I summoned up every bit of adrenaline in my body and did my best to sprint to the finish line.
My aunt’s house is located almost immediately prior to the turn for the finish line, and my family’s cheers once again provided me with a much-needed boost!
As I turned, I saw the finish line and the small hill on which it was located. I saw the clock and again thought a PR was within reach and did my best to power up the hill, but I was pretty worn out by that point and didn’t have much left.
I took full advantage of the water, bananas, and oranges that were located in the post-race spread. The organizers had several boxes of pizza that looked very delicious, but my stomach wasn’t in a condition for anything but water and fruit at that point. Darn!
As I waited for the awards ceremony, the sky began to get increasingly greyer and snow began to fall. April is more than half over and we’re still getting snow…so unbelievable!
Before the ceremony began, I walked around and took some pictures. Several generations of my family are buried in the town cemetery that is pictured below. For several decades, the cemetery had a tree that had a scythe within it. My grandparents told me long ago that a local man hung his scythe there before he headed off to fight in the Civil War. Unfortunately, he never returned home and the tree eventually grew around the scythe!
The awards ceremony eventually started. Much to my surprise and delight, I finished first in my age group with a time of 25:24.8!
This is the first time in my life that I have ever placed in my age group! Sure, there were only three runners in age group, but I still think thought that finishing first was pretty cool. My excitement got the better of me, though, and I pulled a Kanye West when I went up to receive my award when I asked the woman to repeat my time. I honestly did it because I was so distracted by the thrill of winning that I didn’t listen to my time, and I didn’t realize that she was going to repeat it into the loudspeaker. I hope people didn’t think I was trying to brag!
My humbling quickly came when I pulled up my time from the Bay Village Snoball 5K and saw that I had missed a PR by three-tenths of a second!
At first, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t set a new 5K PR. However, I put this into perspective by telling myself that my late arrival and pre-race disorganization contributed to my uneven start and that I should be grateful for my first place age group finish. I also told myself that the Bay Village 5K was relatively flat and that the Kinsman 5K had a few small hills which probably slowed me down a bit. Additionally, the fact that I came so close but ultimately was unsuccessful will definitely give me motivation to run a smarter and more focused 5K with a faster final two miles in the future!
Despite the myriad number of difficulties that I encountered during the race, I really enjoyed the Kinsman KTown 5K. Racing in a rural setting was a refreshing change of pace, and I’d like to do it again next year if my schedule permits!
Once the race was over, I went to my aunt’s house for a cup of coffee and then decided to finish out my training schedule for the day. I decided to re-run part of the 5K course so that I could actually take the time to enjoy the view of the lake without worrying about my time, and I took the pictures that were displayed above while knocking out 2 easy miles.
I proceeded to head over to my grandparents’ house for a bit, where I was greeted by the adorable Ginger!
I didn’t stay too long because we needed to maintain the ruse that I was just there to shower and eat lunch before heading back to Cleveland…when in actuality I was heading to my aunt’s house to get ready for my grandpa’s surprise 90th birthday party!
My grandpa’s been through a number of health problems in recent years, but in recent years a combination of God’s blessing and modern medicine has helped his health improve dramatically! Needless to say, I was excited for the party, and I was very grateful that the surprise wasn’t ruined. Because I was so paranoid about being “that guy” who ruined the surprise, I didn’t even mention the surprise birthday party on my previous post about this race!
Happily, my grandpa was completely surprised and I could tell that he was really touched by the fact that so many people came out to celebrate his big day.
His actual birthday is on Tuesday, which is also the day on which he and my grandmother celebrate their 64th (I think—it’s either that or 66th!) wedding anniversary!
I enjoyed a delicious dinner of stuffed chicken breast, garden salad, three-bean salad, and cake. Between the two of us, I think my brother and I drank eight iced teas!
After saying goodbye to everyone, I headed back to Cleveland accompanied by the sounds of Radiohead’s classic Kid A. I stopped and took a few pictures of the sunset at Mosquito Lake because it was so beautiful!
I also grabbed a picture of a historic Mail Pouch Tobacco barn located nearby.
By the time I got home to a happy Butters at 10:00, I was pretty pooped but also pretty happy and very grateful for a blessed and enjoyable day!