On Sunday I ran my first race of 2014, the Run it for Chris Brown 5K prediction race at IPFW.
Chris Brown was a member of the IPFW cross-country team who died of cancer about 10 years ago, and the Mastodons’ cross-country team sponsors a 5K race every February to raise money for a scholarship in his name.
I last ran the race two years ago. If I remember correctly, the 2012 race had a larger turnout. And why not? The weather that day was sunny and warm, or at least warm by February standards. By contrast, the weather Sunday was overcast temperatures in the 20s.
After a small lunch, I rode my bicycle to IPFW, about a 3-mile ride by the route I took. I picked up the Rivergreenway and rode that. On two or three occasions I had to get off my bike and walk it through snowdrifts or ice. I got to the campus’ fieldhouse about 20 minutes before the gun was scheduled to go off, enough time to hit the restroom and change clothes but not time to go out and run. I figured the bike ride was warm up enough.
As I was sitting in the hallway putting on my shoes, I heard the national anthem. Shoot, I thought, I better hustle, the race is about the start. Then people started filing out of the fieldhouse track and toward the starting line. The national anthem must have been inside the fieldhouse. I stuffed my backpack and jacket under a bench and headed out. Everyone was lined up to the left of the start-finish line. The race director had everyone move to the right. We lined up then someone called out “mark, go,” and we were off.
The route went past the student union and library then down a service drive to the main road and around the campus’ oldest building, Kettler Hall. We then went past the engineering building, a parking garage and across the triangle bridge to the student housing area. We looped around student housing then back across the triangle bridge, past a couple parking lot to an extension of the city’s Rivergreenway trail. Unlike the city-maintained trail, this one was cleared of all snow. We went past the arts buildings and then back to the athletic center to the finish line.
As I mentioned, it was a prediction run, so there was no clock at the end indicating what your time was. I predicted I’d run the race in 31 minutes 9 seconds. I ended up running it in 31:02. For that effort, I was awarded 11th place, my best finish ever in a road race. (I finished third in the mile run we ran in basic training while I was in the Army back in 1977.) I did not stay around for the awards. I had to get home to get to work. So after changing my clothes at the fieldhouse, I headed back to my bike and rode home. I changed my route up, so I think my ride home was shorter than my ride out.
I mashed a banana in a bowl, poured in raw oatmeal and a few raisins, mixed it up and that was my postrace meal.
I hope to run more races in 2014 than I did in 2013. I ran just 5 races last year — a St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Biloxi, Miss., a Fourth of July 4-miler here in Fort Wayne, the Fort4Fitness half marathon, the River City Rat Race 10K and a turkey trot Thanksgiving day in Montrose, Colo. In all but the turkey trot, I achieved a PR at that distance. My run Sunday was more than a minute off the PR I set in Biloxi last March.
The weather is supposed to finally warm up this week, with the 40s a real possibility, which should melt some of the worst of the ice. So I hope to get back into a regular running routine this week, even if a wintry mix is in the forecast for Monday.
Finally, IPFW stands for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Students there are either IU students or Purdue students, though everyone takes classes together. Graduates are awarded either an IU degree or a Purdue degree. The Mastodons play in the Summit League for all sports except men’s volleyball. They play in the MIVA for volleyball and have been to the NCAA Final Four twice in volleyball.