Saturday, August 29, 2015

On the Run: The Crim 2015

I've been hearing people talk about The Crim for years, long before I considered myself a "real runner."  The stories always went that it's challenging, hilly, lots of fun, and a must-do race for any Michigan runner.  It's in Flint, which is about an hour and twenty minute drive for us.  That always seemed farther than I wanted to go for a 10-mile race.  It's at the end of August and almost always HOT.  I'm usually thinking how glad I am not to be out racing that day!

This year I decided to see what all the excitement is about.  Was it really worth driving to Flint?

Uh yeah.  Totally worth it.

Brian and I needed to get on the road at 5am so I had to adjust my pre-race routine a bit.  Instead of getting up an hour before leaving I only gave myself 30 minutes so I could get a little more sleep.  This was plenty of time to get ready.  (What on earth do I usually do with an hour's time?!)  I never have coffee before a race but with the drive ahead I made a small cup for the road.  I took my pre-race snacks with me to eat closer to race time.  

The drive was easy and honestly didn't seem as long as I'd anticipated.  No traffic at that time of day!  We made one stop in Holly at a gas station/McDonald's for the bathroom.  (Thank you coffee!  wink wink!)  

We parked in one of the U of M lots about half a mile from the start.  (It's across the street from a Rally's so we Googled that for directions.  We joked about driving all the way to Flint for Rally's!)  It's a great spot to park because it's close to all the race stuff, plus easy in and out.  

First we hurried over to packet pickup.  We ran into a few members of Be Bold Crew at the start line.  I was getting more excited!  I got my stuff and took it back to the car.  Brian and I split up here because I had to get my warm-up done and he wanted to run as many miles as he could before I was finished with the race.

I was done warming up around 7:30.  Time for the port-a-potties!  I started to panic because I knew I was cutting it close and the lines were long (race start was 8:00).  BUT I remembered a friend telling me about the portas on the left not getting used.  I wasn't sure what she was talking about until I saw.  (If you've been there you probably know.  If not just remember about the portas on the far left.)  So instead of 30 people in line I moved over and there were 3.  Nice and quick!  I was able to get my run drills in and be at the start line by 7:40.

Because the race is so big there are corrals.  I was in A but made sure to be at the back.  I didn't want to get run over!  Coach Terra was racing so we waited together.  It was so great to be there with her!  We hugged each other good luck and then it was time.  We were off!

At first it was really crowded and congested.  Everybody was bunched up and it was slow going.  I took a hard elbow to the shoulder.  (That guy meant business!)  At the first turn I was able to make my move and break away from the crowd.  FREEDOM!  The first part of the race is through the UM-Flint campus, which is bigger than I expected.  I was surprised and excited to see Brian waiting for me!

Because I wasn't sure what to expect with this course, I set my goal at 6:50/mile.  I knew there were hills starting at mile 5.  I ended up pulling a Boston and ran the miles up until that point faster than planned just in case the hills slowed me down.  They didn't.  Miles 4-6 were all exactly the same pace and I got faster from there.  I love hills!  It felt so good to take them on again in a race.  Even after the big hills in mile 5 there were rolling hills throughout the rest of the course.  I credit the crowd support as well as the other racers to help push me to run faster.  My last few races have been small and a bigger race makes a difference.

When I got back into the downtown area I was starting to get tired.  The last mile felt long.  I turned the final corner and suddenly Doug Kurtis was in front of me.  He had to have been in front of me for a long time but I hadn't seen him.  I focused on chasing him to the finish line.  I didn't catch him but we did finish in the exact same time!

After the race I saw so many runner friends, many of whom I hadn't seen in a long time.  This race definitely draws people from all over!  Then I caught up with my Crew.  They all did an awesome job.  I'm proud to run with them!

I'm really proud of myself for this race.  For my time and pace, sure.  But mostly because this was the first race since my injury that I truly felt confident.  I felt like the old Amanda out there on the course.  The Amanda that used to race boldly and fearlessly.  My injury robbed me of that confidence and it's taken me 6 months to regain trust in myself.  But I went cautiously during my recovery period for a reason.  And now I'm ready.  I think I just needed the right race at the right time.  Talking to Coach Terra right before the race helped, too.

Swapping race stories with Coach Terra

After the race I ran another 4 miles to finish out my long run for the day.  It was a good way to loosen up my legs before the car ride home.  For the rest of the day I felt like I was walking on air!  I was so excited and happy.  I haven't been this happy after a race in a long time.  Did I place in my age group?  No.  Did I win anything?  No.  Am I back to my fastest?  Not yet.  

But with a happy hamstring and newfound confidence, I'm on my way.


6:45 min/mile
Water Fountain / tUnE-yArDs
Kiss with a Fist / Florence + the Machine
  Random Name Generator / Wilco
 Strangers / Langhorne Slim & the Law
Dear Rosemary / Foo Fighters
Supermassive Black Hole / Muse 
Bulletproof / La Roux
Crushcrushcrush / Paramore
Believer/ American Authors
Discipline / Nine Inch Nails
One Engine / The Decemberists
Swell Content / Speedy Ortiz
Digital Witness / St. Vincent
Violent Shiver / Benjamin Booker
Everybody Talks / Neon Trees
Anklebiters / Paramore
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Man / Neko Case
Youth Without Youth / Metric 
Deceptacon / Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Cadillac, Cadillac / Train

Oh and when I said this race draws runners from all over, I wasn't kidding.  The winner of the women's race was Caroline Rotich, who also won this year's Boston Marathon.  So yeah, Crim is big.

I'm so glad I finally ran Crim this year and am already excited for next year's race!

Photo credit: Brian Wolski

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