Saturday, May 19, 2012

Race Recap - Soleburner 5K

This year was my 3rd year participating in this year because the meaning behind this holds a special place in my heart. This 5K is put on by the American Cancer Society and cancer affects so many people in our lives that I really hope they can begin to find a cure for this disease. Some forms of cancer have very good survivial rates and there are others that are basically a death sentence.

I was very unsure the night before of the race as I suddenly came down with a horrible headache and felt very nauseous. I am not the kind of the person that gets headaches so it kinda freaked me out. I was out trying to add some things on to our registries and barely made it home. I spent the next few hours lying in bed and not being able to fall asleep. I finally did and when I woke up the next morning I was feeling better but my energy level was pretty low.

The race was starting at 9am so thankfully I got to sleep in a not a morning person......and of course checked the weather almost immediately. It was looking to be around 65 at the start and sunny. Just my kind of weather...NOT!! Have I mentioned I'm such a fair skinned person that I would still burn with sunblock on through a light colored t-shirt as a kid....yeah that was me! So with the energy level issue and temps I just relaxed realizing I probably was not going to break 28 minutes (my A goal) but that as long as I could keep a decent pace I would still PR it. My old PR is from last year's Wildcat Run at 32:16. It was the most calm I've ever been on race morning because I was just going out there to finish and have a good time and I was OK with that!

The run begins and ends at City Park in downtown Appleton near the Lawrence University campus. Traditionally the course is run mostly along the Fox River on neighborhood streets but due to one of the bridges being under construction the route was changed this year. This year we wound our way through downtown and then the last mile was along the river and up the Hill of Hope. This hill is a very steep incline and lasts for quite least it seems that way when you are running it. The good news is once you make it to the top it's only 3 blocks to the finish.

The hill represents all of cancer patients struggles and only pales in comparison to the challenges they face in their lives and that is the kind of inspiration needed to make it up. There is a bridge that also crosses over it and it's always lined full of people cheering you on. It seems that each year I'm so exhausted after the hill climb that the last 3 blocks my running mantra is .....don't fall on your face, don't fall on your my legs feel like jelly.

I proceeded to almost pass out on the sidelines after the finish and then I went to go looking for my dad. He told me before the race he was not trained and to expect him at about 37 minutes. So I began to walk back a block or two from the finish so I could speed him along. I got about 25 steps and he was flying past me. He ended up finishing in 28:31 with his chip time, which is fantastic!! Apparently I had a faulty chip as mine did not register so no official PR but my Garmin said 28:08 and I stopped it a few seconds after the finish so I'm saying I did it in 28:03!! In the end I did almost end up with my A goal but the last stretch before the large uphill did me in for under 28, but there is always another race.

Afterwards we headed towards the downtown bars to throw back a few beers in true Wisconsin fashion. There is no better post-race food, yes it is a food group here.It helps relax the muscles and lets you put back the calories you just burned! I only got one attempt at a pic so you are just going to have to deal with this crappy pic of me and my dad.

I was wearing my "Will run for Beer" Bondiband!

Dislikes of this race:

1. The start - this year it changed, without them letting us know so with only about 3,000 runners it took me 5 minutes to start the race being only about halfway back. They had a starting mat that only fit about 5 people wide so the entire width of the street had to file down into this. Did not figure this out until it was actually in sight.

2. The course change - not very scenic and no shade

3. Start time change - even though it meant I got to sleep in the 9am start threw me off in the morning a little and it was much warmer at the start

4. Water stop - I wear my fuel belt with me at all races (like having water when i want and was also used to put on my head several times to cool me down) so I don't stop on a short race, they placed this right at the bottom of the steep downhill after Mile 2 and had no idea it was even coming until I was right on top of it. So i got stuck in the chaos and could not move out of the way.

5. Chip timing - Obviously since mine failed and did not give me an official time, heard of others with the same issue as well. It was just a white piece of tape on the back of our bibs.

They did have a survey which I completed and put all of this as my comments. I also noted for them to contact me about interest in being part of the committee next year as I feel this race could be run so much better and I'm also curious to learn the behind the scenes of planning such an event.

Okay, so looking at this post it got a little long but I guess when you have a week to think about what to put it ended up being a story. Congrats if you made it all the way through this...LOL!!


  1. I heard a lot of the same comments. Regardless, great time! We drove through Appleton that morning and watched folks finish. :)


  2. Congrats to the (unofficial) PR and for getting so close to your A goal. Without the headache the night before and/or some cool temps, you would have made your goal no question!!!

    Bummer about the timing chips. I didn't get an official time for my half ironman a couple of weeks ago. I was so disappointed. When I contacted the race director about it, they were able to get my time out of their backup system and I am now officially listed. Worth a try to contact them, they maybe have a backup too!


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