It has been a long time since I have run a 5k by myself. It has become the distance that I typically run with my son, but this race was just for me and boy was it fun! I was like a fish out of water for a couple different reasons…1) I’m not a fast runner so to push it for 3.1 miles without having to worry about pacing myself was unique 2) I don’t eat bacon and this race was all about pork right down to the chocolate chip cookies at the after party.
Being that my extended family lives in the Milwaukee area and my grandparents used to live in Cudahy I have heard of the Race for the Bacon, but never considered running it. Lucky for me the Race Director offered me a bib to come check it out and a few other Oiselle birds were also running, so why not head to MKE to check it out. Coach Nora and I have been doing quite a few speed workouts and this was the perfect venue to assess my progress. Up to this race my 5k PR was around 28 minutes. I was hoping to run at least that if not a little faster, but it has been awhile since I have gone all out. As a distance runner gravitating towards ultra events I have conditioned myself to pace my efforts to allow me to go the distance. In a 5k there would be no need for me to hold back early on or stop at aid stations. I was intrigued by this and looking forward to moving faster than I usually do while running.
Before we dig into how the race went let me start with a few logistics. The race is set up on a Thursday evening in the great city of Cudahy, Wisconsin. Both the start and finish were located in Sheridan Park along Lake Michigan. With the local high school close to the park there was plenty of parking for all participants. Upon walking from our car my husband and I headed into the park to grab my packet. Regardless of where you parked the walk was no more than 5 minutes making this pick up easy and fast. The set up was low key, but efficient. A line of 5 porta-potties were set up for runners and the park shelter was also opened up for individuals to use prior to the race getting started. While we were grabbing our items a live band was setting up for after the race and the food crews were bringing in all sorts of goodies.
I was able to meet up with Oiselle birds Amy & Kassy before the race began for a few pictures and laughs. The temperature was perfect for running. I was a little chilly (not shocking to those that know me…I’m always cold) so I tossed on a long sleeve shirt. It ended up being overkill, but you live and learn. 5 minutes before the race was to start the announcer came on with a few last minute details and asked runners to make their way to the start line chute. Before we knew it the gun went off and we were on our way. Kassy and Amy are rockstar speed-demons so we said our goodbyes and got down to business.
The 1st half mile was strange and uneven for me. I could not get my legs underneath me and I felt like I was all over the place. I kept checking my watch to see what pace I was at because I not settling in to a comfortable stride. It later occurred to me that I’m not used to going fast! In ultra running I don’t sprint out of the gates, I hang back and ease into a pace that I can maintain for several miles. This race taught me a lot. I needed to learn how to run fast and feel comfortable, adjust my breathing, relax my body, and get my stride down
. Mile marker 1 came before I knew it and we began the gradual climb up a long hill. This was a welcomed relief, I know that is not what most runners say, which forced me to clean up my form. At mile 1.5 we reached the aid station. You could smell it from about 500 ft. Why you might ask? Well, there was not only water at this station but also BACON! Don’t get me wrong, I may not eat bacon, but I love the smell. That is when I am not running. I did not stop as it made my stomach a little uneasy (could have been the Starbucks from mid-afternoon too). At the top of the hill we turned off the city street onto the paved path that ran through Sheridan Park. The zig-zag back and forth on the winding path made for interesting strategies by runners. I observed several different approaches as individuals tried to find the best way to navigate this section of the run. I was little distracted looking for my husband who had been recruited before the race to direct traffic. I love that he was on the course and getting to see how cool these events can be. I never did find him, I thought he was stationed towards the middle, but he was actually located on the street in the 1st mile. Putting the pedal to the medal I rounded the last turn and could see the finish. As we came across the timing mat we were handing a package of bacon and ushered to the party about 500 feet away in the park.
And when I say party…I mean party! Live music, beer, tons of food (all inspired and prepared with some type of pork product), and lots of people. I was shocked! I did not expect that a 5k on a Thursday night would draw such a crowd. We grabbed our food which was nicely packaged in a clear container and sat down to listen to the music and eat. I was able to pick around the bacon which to this crowd was probably some type of sin. As the last of the runners and walkers trickled in the band played their last set. Awards were announced and winners were met with rousing cheers (these people know how to have a good time). The temperatures continued to drop so we decided to pack up for home when the award ceremony concluded. The Race for the Bacon will for sure go down as one of the most interesting and entertaining races I have run. The event was well organized, runners were hilarious (many of which were in dressed up in bacon attire), and the after party a true celebration. If you get a chance I highly recommend you check it out next year.
On a side note…I PR’d in this race. It is nice to know that as a 38 year old runner I am faster than I was as a 28 year old runner! Hard work does pay off. Thank you Coach Nora (Team Bird Training) for killing me this summer with speed workouts. I may hate them from start to finish, but I am sure glad we are doing them. The progress has made a difference.
#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive
Date – July 28, 2016
Gear Used –
- FitSok Q5 Tech Socks –Holy bananas these new releases are amazing! Thin, comfortable, and the compression is perfect.
- Oiselle – Black Distance shorts, Orange Flyte long sleeve shirt, and team singlet.
- Saucony – Kinvara shoes with a 4mm drop.
- Run Gum – I hit my max coffee intake at noon so I popped two pieces in on our drive to the race! Great pick me up with zero gut bomb.
- Trail Toes Cream – My go-to blister fighter. I slather this stuff on before I put my socks on to prevent hot spots. I was sporting a new pair of shoes, fresh out of the box, and wanted to make sure that I did not run into issues.