Happy Birthday USA

Liberty 5K in Baraga this morning was the perfect way to start the holiday festivities!  I put in my Black Rock Star Flower and was ready to run strong to the end.

Zena and I met up at the start line bright and early.  After spending the better part of this week training together for this run, we were ready.  It was awesome to actually run this event in my hometown, running some of the same streets that we had to run in high school for track practice.  I remember how much I hated running these hill then, don’t think it is going to be any better today! Before the run started I ran into several friends from high school that (aside from Facebook) I have not seen in many many years.  Being about to reconnect with them made the morning that much more enjoyable.
This event was definitely smaller than the 5k’s that I usually run, but it was a nice change after running the Bellin this year with it’s record breaking crowd (20,000 runners/walkers).  The weather was also perfect for a run.
Right from the start, Zena was off like a rocket.  I already knew that I was never going to keep pace with her.  I was feeling good and was going to run my race and run it the best that I could!  Running with friends along the course made it that much more enjoyable!  
Shortly after the race started I found myself running with a high school classmate (Tina) and we ran together for a short time.  This was her first ever 5K that she was running – So proud of her for getting out there and challenging herself!  At several points during the race, we would find ourselves running together, even if just for a short distance at a time.  Whenever she was in front of me, I made sure that I didn’t get her get too far ahead (thanks for pushing me to keep moving up those hills!).  The one big hill on the course was just as much of a killer as I remember from High School, but I was determined to give it my all and not let it get the best of me!  (the black line on the photo to the right is the elevation change on the course… Mile 2 was not a friend to anyone today!)

I conquered the main part of the hill but then also had the rest of mile 2 to get through (virtually the entire mile was all uphill!)  Just as I was finally nearing the top of the up hilly stretch, I also had the honor of running a short part of this race with Fellow Flowers Co-Founder Tori Sager’s Dad, Scott (aka Coach or Mr K).  Scott was one of the coaches when I was in school as well as one of my teachers.  (yes the joys of running in my small hometown)!  It was great to see him out on the course today, enjoying the day with everyone else and giving it his all!  Tori, you should be very proud of your dad – I know he will rock that half marathon in Marquette!!  I was also happy to see several other flowers in the crowd for the race today!

 A short distance from the finish line, Tina and I found ourselves in step again.  My Runtastic App told me that I had just his 3 miles and a time of 0:29:30.  I had 30 seconds to make the last stretch and break that under 30 minute wall. We made our push for the finish line together.  I told her that we were finishing this strong!  I picked up my step and she was right behind me all the way!  You are a rock star Tina!  Well done!!

In the end, my official time was 0:30:22… SO CLOSE!  That hill by the Drive-in Restaurant that we had to climb got the best of me (as well as having to stop and tie my shoe!).  I will never complain about todays run though – I shaved almost 2 minutes off my 5K PR for this summer!!  Average pace, 0:09:49 minute/mile!  I also finished 3rd in my division, not too far behind Zena who pulled out a first place finish in our age division!

Also very proud of my son!  Darrin ran his first race in the last year today!  With very little training, he finished in a very respectable 45 minutes!  Way to go my little goober!  You did awesome!!

While we were waiting for the awards ceremony after our race, I also found out that Matt finished his 5K this morning in Kaukauna in under 30 minutes!  His official time was 0:29:01!  So proud of him for reaching that under 30 milestone!  

Time to get out and enjoy the rest of the day!  Hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

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