So last summer I read My Marathon by Frank Shorter one of the original runners who inspired a nation at the Munich Olympics taking the Gold Medal in the 10k and the Marathon. This book is full of life lessons and Frank Shorter has a remarkable and heart wrenching story. He turned his childhood troubles into a life that really means something and one of the things he's done is work closely with local Colorado (he still lives in Boulder) groups that support kids health and education.
An event he helps put on each year is the Frank Short Race4Kids' Health 5k & Expo which is run annually in Broomfield. Since I've been testing my speed at shorter distances I thought it was time to throw in my hat to actually race a 5k. While I've been doing a couple 5k's a year, they have always been a lead up to a larger race. The last time I raced a 5k was back in 2009 when I participated in the GE corporate 5k when I was an intern at the Schenectady, NY location. I ran it in a 22:54 and since then I've been focused on longer races.
So I started getting that itch to race and low and behold, the Frank Short 5k was only a couple weeks away. So I quickly signed up and was excited and a little nervous to take on the 5k distance. This distance is hard, it's short, fast, and you just have to keep pushing but I was excited to see what my diligent track work could manifest!
So the morning of April 8th came and it was supposed to be cool, maybe some rain? Maybe some clouds? So I packed a lot of extra stuff in my car just in case but ended up being comfortable in a long sleeve T, shorts, some Procompression socks, and a pair of gloves since my hands get abnormally cold.
I got their early to grab my bib and check out the expo and I'm so glad I did. THERE WAS SO MUCH GOING ON AT THIS RACE!
There were children's groups, health groups, museums, different food product samples, and everything in between. I rarely go to an expo with this many vendors with really interesting things, it was awesome!
So after wandering around a bit I also got to enjoy seeing some young dancers perform (their were kids demonstrating different things they learned all day, I go to see Karate and bands too!). I made one final stop at my car to drop off some stuff and make sure I was ready to go before the race.
I then went to the start area and sis some warm-ups, some light jogging, skips, etc and then found my way into a nice spot in the corral. The race had a definite feel to it, lots of runners recognizing each other and chatting about their race goals. There were also a ton of mascots there so the Avalanches mascot and another mascot were there at the front, ready to see us off.
The National Anthem was sung, the countdown began, and we were off!
5ks are hard, you have to just run fast but not too fast the whole time. It's such a fine line. I really wanted to come in under 22 min which would mean about a 7:06 pace which was within my training but definitely a stretch. The second goal was just to break by 9 year old PR.
We set out and the race kind of just runs through this community/apartment complex area right near the Broomfield event center. The course was nice but nothing to write home about. The turns were fine but there were a few gradual climbs that didn't feel like the "flat and fast" course that was described on the website. I probably took the beginning a little too hard but it's a learning process!
We started and ended in basically the same place but the .1 mile took us into the Broomfield Event Center for the finish. Frank Shorter was there reading off the names of the finishers!
Offical Time: 22:17
While I didn't come in under 22 I smashed my PR and felt really good about the paces I was laying down. I definitely executed the race in a way that I was proud of. Did I start to fast? Probably but I learned more about what a 5k effort feels like and walked away happy.
After I finished I got a bag full of awesome and surprisingly useful things. I then made a beeline for the breakfast. Guys, this breakfast was legit! Breakfast burritos, yogurt, granola, fruit, muffins, and lots of other things I'm probably forgetting. It was seriously impressive.
I then took my breakfast back to the stands to chill for a bit before looking at more of the expo. I also started tracking my placing and it looked like I took 2nd in my age group so I was excited to stick around for the awards.
After eating, I made my way over to thank Frank Shorter for everything he's done for the Colorado community and the running community. I really wanted to have that moment and I'm glad I mustered through my awkwardness to make that happen.
I wandered around some more and finally, it was awards time where I now have a pic with Frank Shorter himself. He actually gave me my medal - how many people can say they've gotten a medal from an Olympian??? Probably one of the coolest moments ever.
After that, it was time to call it a wrap and head home. I had a wonderful time and I DEFINITELY plan to come back next year, I think I found my new tradition (the breakfast alone was worth coming back for!)and it benefits a great cause!