Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.


Well, my first official five-mile run is in the books, and I’m pretty happy with it: Forty minutes, 59.75 seconds – well below my original goal of 45 minutes, and just a shade off my secretly-harbored eight-minute-mile pace.

My younger brother Adam and I ran this one together, unlike the two-mile races we’ve done in the past, and it helped me tremendously: For starters, we managed to keep up a conversation for the first two miles or so, which prevented me from starting too fast. The first mile wound through shaded neighborhoods and passed pretty quickly. There was a little girl on a porch cheering everyone one as we passed: "Go faster! Go FASTER!"

Mile two swung us back around toward the Hall of Fame and put us on a nice long downhill stretch. (One benefit of the five-mile course is that, while the finish line is still at the top of the same hill as the two-mile, the five-mile at least gives you a shot to go DOWN the damn thing.) We start taking some long, coasting strides and are really wheeling down this thing before a minor bottleneck at the bottom had us putting on the brakes. At this point, we’re still feeling pretty good, we can see the second mile marker ahead, and we’re thinking, "Hey, not so bad – in the past, we’d be done by now."

Mile three tends to be my toughest mentally, the one where I’m most likely to hit the "just keep the feet moving" wall, and this one’s got a short but steepish climb about three-quarters through. But as we pass the water station and I grab a cup from a volunteer, swish-and-spit and then dump the rest over my head, I feel all right. Adam & I aren’t talking quite as much, but we’ve still got enough wind for a smart-ass comment about making a quick side-trip up the McKinley Memorial steps as we turn around in front of the monument. Someone hollers out in support, "You’re more than halfway there!"

And here’s where my real battle starts: Mile four sucks. Hard. It’s not even the fourth mile in its entirety – just  the second half of it, plus the first quarter of mile five: It’s this long, grinding uphill straightaway that feels like forever. This is where I start muttering obscenities under my breath and my brother starts becoming the moral support I need.

One side of the street is lined with houses, and there are people out in front watching the race, including a family with three little kids, who are enthusiastically clapping and cheering and holding their hands out. "Let’s high-five ’em," my brother says, and we swing to the right and smack-smack-smack as these kids grin and their families cheer louder, and I smile and tell Adam thanks, because I needed that boost. We get a shot from a guy with a Super Soaker in another front yard – yes, we asked for it – and then there’s the water station marking the end of Mile Four and another swish-and-spit and another face splash and we’re over the hill and coasting down the unfairly-short other side. The end’s a-comin’. There’s another short uphill into the sun, and then a couple turns later and we’re almost to the bottom of the finishing hill, and we hit the bottom of it and we. Start. To. CHARGE.

I don’t even know where the energy came from, other than I could see the finish line and I just wanted to be on the other side of it.

My legs are screaming, I feel like the veins in my temples are getting whacked with mallets and my brother and I are flying side-by-side and we pass a few people and I hear my name over the loudspeakers and Adam and I split to go around a guy on either side and then we’re through the gate and it’s over and we did it and that’s my first five-mile and I take the sopping wet cold paper towel from the volunteer and slap it on the back of my neck and I feel kinda like puking just a little, but I don’t.

I plop on the grass for a minute to take the timing chip off my shoe, but I don’t want to stay there because it’s in the sun and I want my water and, even though it’s not even 9:30 a.m., my sandwich and my hot dog and my banana and my ice cream. (Seriously: I saw a girl wearing a shirt that said, "I Run To Eat." There’s no food like post-race food.)

We didn’t hang around for the awards, because we knew we were nowhere near the top. The results posted online a couple hours later. Adam actually finished FIVE-HUNDREDTHS of a second ahead of me. Dammit. We were in the top half overall, and we won – oh, fine, HE won – the Booth Division. (Turns out there were five other Booths running, though nobody we knew. One from San Jose, Calif., one from Atlanta, and one from Hudson, Ohio.)

After the drive home, I showered, had some spaghetti and dozed for awhile watching "Firefly."

July 27, 2008 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Games, Ohio, running, Sports


  1. […] run, an eight-flat, and an 8:20. The 8-minute mark is what I was aiming for (and just missed) in last year’s Hall of Fame 5-Mile, and it’s been my general benchmark for […]

    Pingback by Seventeen Saturdays: Episode III « Cornfield Meet | June 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] My first five-mile race – (July 2008). […]

    Pingback by New feet friends. « Cornfield Meet | February 2, 2013 | Reply

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