This was the 7th year for this 5K race which is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story – https://www.summersmith5k.com/summer-s-story
I was in the middle of training for a November 15k race and a half marathon…
However, I just had to do this race. I knew that there would be many other runners and volunteers from the STEM program. I wanted to support this cause and I am fortunate to have known and run with Summer.
The first 4 years that I ran this race, it was held at the end of May and started at a local High School.
Due to COVID, the 2020 race was cancelled (but run virtually) and in 2021, the date was changed and the location was switched to The Crossings. The Crossings is not my favorite place to race. I have run there so often but it is what it is.
I guess they decided that this was a better date and location since this year’s race was held again in October and at The Crossings.
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
It was a few weeks after a half marathon (Oct. 2) and a few weeks before another half marathon (Nov 20).
So I’ve done the short runs on weekdays. It was a little challenging this week since I was in NYC and then Rochester. But I got it done.
And long runs on the weekend? 13.1, 8, 3.1 miles…
I carb load with pizza whether it is 13.1 miles or 3.1. I also wear a similar outfit:
The race, as previously mentioned, started at The Crossings where there are real bathrooms, easy parking, and ample room to hang out before and after the race.
I arrived early just to make sure I got parking. I had already picked up my race packet on Thursday after I returned from Rochester.
Honestly, I didn’t really want to run a race. I know, that sounds strange coming from me. But I was pooped having spent two days in NYC and two days in Rochester this past week. (I don’t sleep well and even worse in hotels.)
I knew once I got there, my mood would change.
Several who were in Summer’s STEM group (that I had mentored) were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.
Unfortunately, for the first time, there were no STEM participants running this race as their first 5k. That was disappointing. I hope the program resumes in the spring.
This race is always one of the most organized races I’ve run. After you got your bib, you got a bag labelled with your name with a shirt and other swag. (There was also packet pick up two days before at Fleet Feet which I had taken advantage of.)
There were tables with representatives from relevant organizations (alcohol & drug abuse) also giving out freebies.
There were also many many raffle items and this year, I remembered to bring $$.
Before the race (at 9 am), there was a prayer, dedication ceremony and many speeches.
followed by a balloon release.
Then purple balloons released for the others who also lost their lives due to drugs or alcohol. Probably not a dry eye in the crowd.
I waited around and chatted with many of the runners that I knew and two whom I haven’t seen since the last STEM race.
The race’s start was delayed until 10:15 so I had some coffee and something to eat (my breakfast was at 6 am)
I also talked to my former Freihofer & Troy Turkey Trot Training Challenge coach (who was timing the race.)
As you can see, it was very cool (low 40s) before we started the race. I had on a jacket, two shirts, arm warmers and gloves.
Then the sun came out and I wisely took off my jacket, arm warmers, gloves and even my long sleeved shirt. There was no bag check so I just hid them under a tree.
Elevation according to my Garmin:
I have run this 5k route for several races … and it’s never been one of my better 5ks. But you never know.
I lined up pretty close to the front since there were many slower runners and walkers in this race. It was not chip-timed (from the start) either.
I just did the best I could. Not PR fast but I wanted to finish with a respectable time. With the chilly temps and no warm up, my legs felt like lead at the beginning. There was a lot of support along the course. Friends of the families who lost loved ones to drugs were holding signs in their memory. I was glad that I was running to support this charity.
It felt really hard to breathe. I thought it was the cold air. But probably when I look at my pace, as usual I started out too fast. The course was a loop and the trees were at peak color. Running into the wind was a bit annoying.
The rolling hills started during this mile. I slowed down and I felt a lot better The crowd also spread out and I was following a women in red most of this mile. She kinda acted as my beacon.
As per usual, I stopped to walk at the beginning of this mile.
This was a water stop so I stopped again and grabbed a cup.
The crowd support was great. Every volunteer that I passed who carried a sign (for a loved one lost to drugs/alcohol), thanked me for running the race.
Ok now I was getting tired. I probably could have dragged myself through the last mile and not walk. But I always felt energized after a quick walk and I did.
But as I got closer to the finish line, I walked one more time.
Finally the finish line was in sight, I gave it all I had (which wasn’t much at this point).
I looked at the clock and it said 28:XX. Phew!
I was pleased. I knew all the walks would definitely prevent me from having a sub 28 finish. I never considered a PR.
I hung around for awhile, chatted and then looked at the results.
I was starved since I had eaten breakfast 5 hours ago so I had some chocolate milk, a brownie and pizza.
I did win my age group. I was surprised because it was 60-69 (and I am 69.) And the lady in red who was ahead of me? Apparently I passed her at the finish line and she was in my age group! (And yes, she pointed that out to me!)
By the time, I got back to my car, changed my shoes, it was almost noon. I really did not feel like running anymore… but I did drag myself around the park and a trail to add some more miles to my legs.
Additional Race Reflections:
I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. There were over 200 participants. Many who have overcome drug or alcohol addiction.
I am so humbled by the STEM women and others who have overcome adversity. And I am glad to have been a part of their lives.
- Ample parking.
- Well marked course.
- Varied park scenery.
- Indoor restrooms
- Flatish course.
- Immediate results.
- Chocolate milk.
- Many familiar faces.
- Crowd Support
- Great Post-race Refreshments (pizza!)
- Important cause.
- Too familiar a course
- Annoying uphills and WIND
- No photos
- Same medal as previous years (and no date on it)
- No speedwork to prepare (my fault)
Would I recommend this race?
Yes. Great organization. Great cause!!!
It will in the spring again (I believe) and back on its original course.
a 15k on November 13 and another half marathon on November 20.