« Health & Fitness

2013 Kalamazoo Klassic 5K conquered!

by Michael Louden

This was the one race I have been looking forward to all summer.  My goal all along has been to break 20 minutes for a 5K race and the Kalamazoo Klassic  course is the perfect place to do it as the course is mostly downhill with only a couple of small hills in the 2nd mile.  The third mile by the way is all downhill.

I was close to breaking 20 minutes earlier in the season as I ran 20:20 at the Fifth Third Riverbank run and the Howard Hill Hustle.  Then the next day after the Howard Hill Hustle I ran 20:07 at the Race for the Cure.  Oh so close, but still work left to do.

During the weeks leading up to the Klassic I would run one track workout during the week which consisted of running eight quarter mile intervals (one lap each around the track) and four 200m intervals.  I also would run two long runs to build up some endurance (about 6-8 miles each) and a couple of recovery runs (3-4 miles each).

My other run would be a 5K race on the weekend.  The tune-up races I ran after the Race for the Cure were the K5K, The Cowboy Trail run and the Kalamazoo Mud Run.  Only one true road race in there, but I still felt great heading into the Klassic.

All of the runs I did this week went well and I felt great and rested heading into the race.  I was beaming with confidence and knew this was the day the 20 minute barrier would be broken.  I walked up the Maple St. hill and waited at the start line area and chatted with other runners before the race went off.

We then lined up for the start and they counted down the time.  The horn sounded and we were off. I started out very fast, but felt great and I was able to maintain my pace for the first mile.  I was able to keep the runners in front of me in my site which included Joe Hulsebus and Chelsey Jones.  I knew if I could keep them close to me, I would break 20 minutes.  

Now I did not look at my watch when I got to the first mile because when I usually look at my time and see how fast I am running it gets in my head and I start to slow down.  The second mile included the couple of small hills I talked about which slowed me down just a little bit, but I kept pushing my pace and Joe and Chelsey were still only a few seconds in front of me.  The third mile then was all downhill to the end when we would run across the Maple Street Magnet School field and cross the finish line. 

I picked up my pace in the third mile and really pushed myself to keep fast pace.  I got to the bottom and headed across the field to the finish and for the first time I saw the race time on a clock.  A trailer was obscuring the seconds on the clock, so all I saw was 18 minutes and I started thinking 'I may break 19 minutes as well.'  Anyways I sprinted to the finish and accomplished my goal and shattered the 20 minute barrier with a time of  19:08!  I finished 32nd overall and placed third in my age group getting a nice coaster as a prize.

Overall it was a great race, I felt great and had an excellent pace.  Now I cannot wait to break 19 minutes as I continue to grow and become an even better runner.  

For complete results of the 2013 Kalamazoo Klassic click on the link http://www.greatlakeschampionchip.com/  ,click on results and scroll down to the Kalamazoo Klassic.