I could be wrong but looking at past results, it looks like I have been running this race since 2008! 2 more races and it will be my 10 year anniversary for this race. I have a short list of races that I run every single year that I cannot miss and this is definitely one of them.
The Malachi race draws thousands of runners each year to run the 2 mile or 5 mile race and manage to do so smoothly. The race is known for being hilly and travels from the bustling end of west 25th street to weave through part of downtown Cleveland and finishes on a fast downhill.
This year was the first year I thought I might not be able to run it. Or I thought I would start it but would have to pull out. I was actually pretty confident that I would not be able to finish. After a 2 mile warm up, I decided to start the race and see what happens.
The first mile starts up a hill (actually a bridge), a lot of people were going out really fast so I let them pass me but paid close attention to my hamstring. A little pulling and a little pain but I could keep going. My pace was faster than I expected so I knew that would bite me later but I felt so good!
I hate when that happens. Of course you feel good at the beginning of the race. You just started! Duh. I looked around to see if there was anyone close to me that I could pace with so that I stopped going too fast. I saw a gentleman ahead that tends to run in the 33’s (I think) but he seemed to be running close to my pace so I tried to run with him. He must have been injured because he kept slowing down and I to leave him by mile 2.
At this point, minus the uphill of the bridge, there is a lot of downhill. The race isn’t necessarily out and back but close. You hit a couple of the same streets on the way back but a lot of hills on the way back too. After 2.5 miles I was having zero issues with my leg. I couldn’t believe it. I even hit the 5K mark with a time I would have been very happy with…if I was running a 5K but I was running a 5 MILER!
After the uphills, my fast pace slowed down and I knew I was going to come close on my goal time. I gave myself a goal time of 36:30. I figured that would be a reasonable goal for the first race of the year and dealing with injuries.
I kept running and trying to keep a decent pace but the bridge at the end seemed to go on FOREVER! OMG, I thought I would never reach the top. I didn’t even bother to look at my watch. I didn’t even want to know what that pace looked like. When I finally reached the top, I told myself “It’s all downhill from here!” and it literally is! You come down a hill, take a short turn and then shoot down a huge hill.
I had did the math in my head around mile 4 and was pretty sure I would run a 37 and miss my goal. OH well, at least I wasn’t in pain.
As I was shooting down the big hill, I thought I could come in just under 37 minutes if I kept up the pace. I made a mad dash for the finish and was shocked to see 35:41 a 7:08 pace and a PR!!!! I still can’t believe it! Hopefully this is a sign for more great races to come this year.