Bellin Run 10k 2014 recap

Last weekend was the running of the 38th annual Bellin Run 10k.  This race is a favorite for local runners as well as runners from across the country and around the world!  This year, 18,213 runners laced up their shoes and hit the streets on the East side of Green Bay.    It is actually one of the largest 10k races in the nation.

This year, when registration first opened, it debating if I was going to run it this year.  Don’t get me wrong, being able to run a race of this size and be able to sleep in my own bed the night before is a huge plus!  The excitement and energy on the street is amazing. However the size of this event also has some drawbacks.  Parking in the area of the start/finish line is mostly limited to street parking through the surrounding neighborhoods.  Don’t get me wrong, the crew that puts together this even handles this very well, providing shuttles from select area in the city, giving people the opportunity to get downtown without having to actually drive!  The fact that there are so many people also makes it difficult to run the course without feeling like you are continuously running around people.  18,000+ people all in the same 6 miles of city street gets a little interesting, but at the same point, adds to the excitement of the morning.

Since I actually earned a free registration for this years race for completing 5 or 6 races in last years Titletown race series, it really was a no brainer… why go somewhere else and PAY to run (plus travel costs) when I could run at home for FREE!

Truimph Mile 2014!

The weekend started off on Friday night with the 2nd annual Truimph Mile with myTEAM TRIUMPH.  This is an event that I missed last year but heard many good things about.  My son and I have become more involved with this organization over the last year and were not going to miss this awesome event!  This amazing event gives individuals with disabilities, that would otherwise hinder or prevent them from taking part in an athletic event the opportunity to  complete a 1-mile course (2 laps) around Astor Park.  After we picked up everyone’s race packets for the big race on Saturday, Darrin and I met up with our good friend Vicky and hundreds of mTT Captains and Angels to complete this 1 miles walk/run.  I would have to say that this was one of the most amazing hours of my life!  Walking these disabled athletes, who were determined to get out there and go was very humbling.  Many of us take our ability to run for granted.  These individuals do not have that opportunity – except for now!  Darrin stayed with Vicky for 2/3 of the first half mile loop and then took of running with another Captain/Angel team.  Vicky and I spent the rest of that loop and the entire next loop trying to keep up to and even catch other excited Captains!   The smiles and pure enjoyment on the faces of these athletes made this one of the best birthday presents I could have asked for!  Yes, this amazing event was on my birthday and I was so glad to be able to have the best birthday party ever – Running with this amazing, inspiring group!

Darrin getting ready to run with Team Jonny

 After a good nights sleep, it was up bright and early to get everyone downtown!  Darrin was running with myTEAM TRIUMPH and needed to be downtown by 6:15,  My husband and our good friend (and my running partner’s wife) Molly were working one of the water stations and needed to be downtown by 6:30.  This meant that I needed to be downtown by 6am also (for an 8am race).  The good thing about having to be downtown that early?  Plenty of parking is available!  We were able to get a parking spot just 2 blocks from the start line area!

Darrin and I both had goals for this years event.
 Mine – to finish in under and hour (last year’s time = 1:06:59)  Darrin’s goal – to cross the finish line before me.  Note:  he said cross the finish line before me, not beat my race time!  Since he was running with mTT, he would have about a 20 minute head start on me!  He just wanted to say that he crossed the finish line before me.  (FYI, my estimate was that I would pass his at about mile 5, but also thought it would have been cool if we actually crossed the finish line together!)

Matt, Gina and myself, pre-race!  Let’s do this!!

It was time to get ready!  Over the next few hours, I met up with a few friends, tried to relax, get some stretching in and get myself ready to go, including clipping in my black Rockstar flower.  Then it was time to head towards the start corrals.  I do have to say that this race is very well organized in terms of the start corrals.  When you register, they ask you your estimated race pace and put you in corrals based on that.  Granted we know that many people register in for a faster corral that they actually run, but for the most part, everything runs very smoothly.  Matt met up with Darci and I near the entrance for wave 4.  We were actually registered for corral 3, but opted to drop back to Corral 4 to start the race with Gina.  Gina actually runs a faster pace than us, but registered in the slower corral.  Our mission… to use Gina’s faster pace to push us to finish within the one hour goal that we set for ourselves.

Considering the number of people that run this event, I will have to say that the start of this race is very organized.  Granted it does take a while to get everyone started, but with over 18,000 runners, that is expected.  When we crossed the start line, the race clock said 0:16:xx, which meant that Darrin started about 20 minutes ago… the race was on!

I went into this race optimistic that I could hit my 60 minute goal that I set for myself.  The first 2 miles of the course are a gradual uphill, so that is always a struggle for me.  I started out ok, running the 2 miles with 10:04 and 10:25 splits.  I however, gave up on trying to keep up with Matt and Gina.  Their pace was just beyond what I was going to be able to do today (we lost Darci shortly after we started as she took off in front of us!).  I made up some time after I passed the 2 mile marker and headed down the LONG downhill stretch along Greene Ave.  Even with having to stop and tie my shoe, I still hit a 10:11 split.  Unfortunately, the second half of my race was not as positive.  This had turned into a mental race for me.  I needed to keep me head in the game and run MY race… not the race that everyone else was running.  Yes, I would have loved to keep pace with Matt and Gina, but considering my IT band issues from this past spring, I had to remind myself that I was NOT at that point in my training.  I needed to run this for me.

Darci and I, ready to be awesome!

Right around the 4 mile marker I caught up to Matt, who had been dealing with a nasty cold for the last 2 weeks. I walked with him for a bit, making sure he was ok before he shoo’ed me off to continue my run.  Once I knew he was ok, I continued on my mission.  Once I reached the top of the next hill, I came to the water station that John and Molly were working.  It was really awesome to see familiar faces out on the course today!  Of course, John dumped a cup of water on my head as i ran by but I was not going to complain – with how warm the sun was getting, the cold water felt great!  I had less than 2 miles to go.

I’m not going to kid you, the last 2 miles were tough.  The sun was getting warmer, there were not many clouds in the sky and I was mentally and physically feeling it.  The awesome thing about this race tho is that, from start to finish, there are people lining the street, cheering everyone on,  blasting music and breaking out the hoses and sprinkles!  This really helped me to get through those last few miles.

When I finally came around the corner, back onto Webster and saw the finish line in front of me, I gave it everything that I had left in me.  When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 1:21:xx  Knowing that it was already at 0:16:xx when I started, I knew I was well short of my 1 hour goal.  But I finished.

Official course time 1:06:12.  I beat last years time by 47 seconds.  I know that this is something positive, but in retrospect, I can’t help but feel disappointed.  It was not my best race, but I also know that I have no one to blame but myself.  Over the last few weeks, life got in the way and I did not take the time that I need to get in some training runs.  Granted I got to the gym, plus did my exercised from my PT, but the miles were not there.  I also know that I did not properly fuel  myself pre-race (spent too much time catching up with friends pre-race and forgot to take my EnergyBits!) and by the time I crossed the finished line I was partially dehydrated (my own fault because I had water WITH me!).  All in all, I know I did the best that I could and can only learn from today – and I finished with ZERO knee pain!!!!!!   And this was WITHOUT wearing my ITband strap!  Thank you Lisa for helping me get back to where I am today!  I know I staill have work to do, but obviously we are moving in the right direction!

After I finished, I found Matt (he finished about a minute or so behind me!) and Gina so we could get a post race pic with the photographers and then it was time to find my munchkin!  Since I never saw (or past) Darrin out on the course, I had to assume that he killed is previous 10k PR.

Darrin and I post race (with photo bomb by Andy!)

Darrin met up with is just as we were heading back toward the park (in route towards the mTT tent).  He was glowing!  He and his team finished with a team of 1:22:56!  CRUSHING his previous 10k time by 18 minutes!!!!!!  He, and the rest of Team Jonny completely ROCKED the Bellin!  He figured that they ran their first mile in 9:30!!  Granted, after that mile, they did slow down a bit, but in the end, they pushed like they never have before (literally) and made it a day to remember!  I am so proud of him for what he has accomplished!  Over the last few months that he has been running with mTT I have seen him grow and mature so much!  Yes, some days it is hard for me to believe that is is the same kid that often times makes me want to pull out my hair and scream, but then days like this remind me that he is a strong caring individual that is full of life and potential… however,  he will always be my “Little Goobler”   Can’t wait to see what they do at the Packers 5k in July!

All in all, it was an awesome day.  I may have not run the race that I wanted, but I am using it as a learning experience!  Have you had those “off” races?  What did you learn from those days?

Next up?  for BIG events – Cliffrunner 10k at High Cliff State Park in July… in the meantime, lets hit a glow run and a few 5k’s to keep us entertained!

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