When Parma Councilman Sean Brennan emailed me in the spring about the 2nd annual Run for the Pierogies, I started sweating. The thought of the 2011 race when the Ohio Blogging Association met up for the hottest 5K ever made me question my sanity as I considered saving the date. I got encouraged to sign up when Amanda from Clue into Cleveland and a few family members also showed interest. I was to run for those pierogies for a second year in a row.
As the race benefited the American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life, Councilman Brennan was excited to share they made some improvements to the event, including a new course and a new t-shirt design for 2012.
Once on the Cuyahoga Community College West campus, I tracked down Amanda (smartly tucked away inside the air conditioned Tri-C theater building) and the one and only PIP Aunt Kathy:
We also found Renee – a long time family friend – and Councilman Brennan. He reported that before race day nearly 400 people were registered and that he was excited to see even more folks registering day of. I wouldn’t be surprised if the total topped over 500 that morning.
The ladies lined up as professional 5K supporters – Hans and Amanda’s husband Scott – took pre-race photos.
The speed demon of the group Renee took off and Aunt Kathy went ahead on her own. This was only her 2nd race and she was on a mission to beat her previous 5K time. Amanda and I stuck with our Cleveland Marathon 5K plan of a run/walk. Barely 3 minutes in, we found Hans and he jumped right in starting to run with us.
The race organizers bumped up the start to 8:30 for 2012, but it was like Mother Nature turned up the temp as well. According to weather.com, it was 84 degrees at 8AM – the heat index indicated it felt like 89 degrees. By 9AM, it was 88, feeling like 95. Playing it safe was the goal of the day. Around the Mile 1 marker, Amanda encouraged Hans and I to go on as she dedicated herself to playing it smart.
Hans and I kept our “run a minute – walk a minute” plan the best I could. Before we knew it, we caught up with Aunt Kathy just after the Mile 2 marker. She was looking solid and I encouraged Hans to keep going with her. The heat was starting to get to me and I switched to a “run a minute – walk two minutes” in order to catch my breath. Each time I approached the water stop, I grabbed two cups: one to drink and one to spritz myself with.
Just pass the water stop, the finish line came into view and that motivated me enough to push it. I wasn’t miserable but t was ready to be done. I ran when I could, power walked when I couldn’t breathe and kicked it back up to a sprint to finish strong. I had more motivation in front of me as Aunt Kathy smoked me by approximately 20 seconds.
YOU GO GIRL! Since the race wasn’t chip timed, I’m sticking with my Garmin time:
Considering I haven’t run since May 19 and it was as hot as it was, I’m perfectly content with that time!
Post-race we did our best to cool down and fuel up. Everyone to lined up for the promised pierogies.
Part of the reason was the line was so long: they were cooking pierogies to order in small batches. I can appreciate wanting to provide a quality product, but our crew had hit their limit of the hot temperatures and stuck to the pizza and 5 Hour Energy shots. There were also bananas and Krispy Kreme donuts – truly something for everyone!
A note for improvement for 2013: more bottled water at the finish line. With temperatures as high as they were, I was shocked to see the water bins empty shortly after I finished. Some runners – including Amanda – finished to not be able to pick up a bottle of water at the end of their race. It was just too hot to not be prepared with plenty of H2O for all.
LONG STORY SHORT: It was a fun morning spent with some of my favorite people, topped off with my decent running performance on an improved (yet still very flat) course. This race has come a long way in just one year. The changing up the course was a big help and the new shirt design has gotten me noticed a few times! While there are still areas to improve on, the leadership team took a lot of the feedback from 2011 to make 2012 an even bigger success. Now if only this race could take place in October instead of July!! I’m sure when 2013′s run rolls around, I’ll bust out my running shoes again to sport a worthy cause.