I started off my race year and my Superbowl Sunday with a last minute decision to run the Super 5k in Novi, Michigan! I had been reading about this race for the past year and wasn’t too sure if I should run it or not, but as the date crawled closer, I realized that I probably should give this race a shot!
I registered online for this 5k the week before the race. That is probably the shortest amount of time I’ve given myself between registration and race day! But I knew I could pull out a 5k fairly easy and registered for it one morning. I didn’t check the forecast, however, before I registered, but luckily it looked to be in the high teens or low 20’s. As the date came closer, the forecast called for a few inches of snow the day before. Still not a big deal, there was time to get it cleaned up!
Early Sunday morning we got up and got moving. Because of the snow we gave it a bit more time to do the usual 35-40 minute drive, but didn’t end up needing all the extra time because the roads weren’t awful. We got to the Novi Civic center very easily and pulled right into the lot. It seemed as though we were some of the first people there!
Inside, the civic center was hopping, but I was able to walk right up to the bib pickup and get mine (although I didn’t see my name on the bib lists they had out… I had it written in my phone from an email they sent the day before). I got my Bib, a pin, and my fancy tech hat handed to me then and there. We decided to mill around inside before the race started to keep warm! It was nice to see so many people meeting old friends and running buddies left and right and though it was cold and early, people were in good spirits. They made announcements over the loud speaker to keep people informed and had some old superbowl footage rolling on a TV.
Part of the reason I was excited to do this race was the fact that a lot of people from the South East Michigan Runner’s group on Facebook (SEMR) were also doing it! At 8:30 they announced where everyone should meet and we all got our picture together!
It was fun to see some familiar faces, though I didn’t really talk to anyone… maybe next time?
After this, everyone started to make the journey over to the starting line, which was a 5-10 minute walk away from the civic center. This wasn’t so bad, but they didn’t plow this route at all, so it was kind of slow going.
We started the race in the school parking lot nearby. There wasn’t too much of an issue with the start area, except for the fact that it felt pretty cramped. But par for the course! I did feel bad for some of the dogs that were being brought along as running partners…Most didn’t have any kind of foot protection, and being a dog owner, myself, I didn’t agree with keeping them out in the cold and snow and slush for that long! That being said, there were a lot of cute furry running partners at this race!
I had my headphones in and two hats covering my ears so I didn’t catch the official start, but people slowly started to move forward.
We started out heading down Taft Rd., which is a main st. and was only a little bit slushy. So that was a bit of a relief. Right before the 1 mile mark, the course turned into a subdivision. That’s when it got rough. It hadn’t been plowed from the storm the day before, and the snow was mostly the kind that feels like sand. Slipping underneath your feet as you move across it! Some sections were better than others, but it really just depended upon how each house dealt with their snow removal. The packed snow was easy to run on, but then you’d come across an intersection where there were 6 inches of snow piled up in the middle that you’d suddenly have to jump over or run through. Lots of people had grips on their shoes or wore trail shoes that had more grip than the regular, but as I don’t ever run in the snow, I only had my normal sneakers. I’m not sure if the grips would have helped much in this case, but it might have been better if I had them.
These kind of conditions went on for the majority of the race. There was one aid station at the halfway mark, and while I usually ignore these in 5ks, I had to stop and get some water because a lot more effort was going into this than usual! I walked for a very short amount of time while I chugged some water and then I took off once again. There were a few hills in this section, one of which was fairly steep and long. That plus the “sandy” snow, I decided it’d be better to walk it.
This was a really nice little subdivision, but the fact that it wasn’t plowed and the roads were kind of narrow, made it a tough run. I’m pretty sure, most of the time, I was looking at the ground ahead of me, or my feet. Usually when I run, I watch the people around me or look at the surrounding area. This didn’t make for an entertaining race.
As we left the neighborhood and went back out onto Taft Rd. it got a lot easier, but somehow it felt a lot more slippery. Luckily it wasn’t as far this time and we came up on the finish pretty quickly after hitting Taft. It was really nice having so many people cheering and the finish line too! Lots of dedicated supporters and volunteers willing to stand out in the cold! I managed to finish in 36:35, which is in no way a PR…but knowing the roads might be bad, and the fact that I hadn’t run outside since November, my goal was to get in before 40:00. So…I WIN! 🙂
At the finish line, they had the volunteers handing out some very cool Medals, bottles of water, and pint glasses! Out of all the races I’ve done, I think this one takes the cake for the coolest swag!
After the race, Everyone made a beeline back to the civic center to grab some grub. There were Hotdogs, Meatballs, Brownies, cookies, and Bananas. I was able to get in and out in under 3 minutes. Pretty awesome. Scarfed down my food and made for the car! Getting out of the lot was pretty simple as well because we were right off of 10 mile!
I’d say, with the exception of all the snow, that this was a really great, really well organized race that I would do again. I know a lot of people had a tough time with the snow, but I think it added a bit of a challenge to those who have run a decent amount of 5ks/races. It was tough, and yes, I did have to walk at some points (which I don’t think I’ve ever done in a 5k) it was a good challenge and a nice way to start off the year!