One of the races you always roll the dice with the weather is the Bay Days 5 miler. A Fourth of July race in Cleveland is bound to be hot and humid. However, there have been random years where the weather was manageable or even one year I recall it being cold. This year, was not a cold year.
I didn’t have any crazy goals in mind for this race. Racing has been all over the place and with the heat I just wanted to run a race where I wasn’t dying from going too fast at the beginning.
The first mile of this race is always easy to go out too fast. There are some downhills and excitement from starting the race and you just can’t help it. I did a decent job of not going out too fast because I was really hoping to have energy at the end to pass people. I mean, that’s always kind of the goal, right?
Mile 1 – 7:24 I actually felt like I went out faster than this but this is what my watch says I did. To be honest, that’s not a bad first mile, not too fast for once.
Mile 2 – 7:38, Mile 3- 7:43 It got a little hot for me at this point and I kinda just wanted to die. I was melting and getting nauseous. The one thing that got me out of my funk was seeing a coworker up ahead of me and I was hoping to catch up to her to have someone to run with.
Mile 4 – 7:37 I caught up to her. She was also dying and unfortunately, I passed her and didn’t have anyone to run with. But it did improve the last 2 miles of my race.
Mile 5 – 6:48 This mile was a little short, realistically it probably should have been around a 7:18.
I had the distance for this race at a 4.91 with an official finish time of 37:13 a 7:37 pace. 5th in my age group. This year they had awesome rewards where you got Mitchell’s ice cream gift cards as awards for placing. Unfortunately, neither Ryan or I placed at this race. However, I am already excited to run it next year and hopefully go sub 37. Baby steps.
Every year the Bay Days 5 miler is on the 4th of July so every year there is the fear that it will be 100 degrees. For years, I avoided this race for that very reason. However, the past couple years I have been running it and we have had surprisingly good weather. This year included.
Last year, the day before this race I biked for 5 hours because I was Ironman training. This year I decided to run 20 miles 2 days before. Not exactly the best decision but I don’t normally run well at Bay Days so I figured it wouldn’t matter.
The Bay Days course is fairly flat but the beginning of the race is slightly downhill so it is really hard to not go out too fast. Which I always love to do. This race was slightly different in that I actually didn’t go out as fast. The first mile marker was a little long but my watch had me at 7:05 mile for the first mile.
The pace felt difficult but my legs didn’t feel heavy so I was hoping I could hold on to the 7:05 pace. I thought for sure that I was running slower but I looked down and by mile 2 I was at a 7:13 pace. So I was running slower but not by too much.
I normally race with headphones but lately I have been getting away from that. For running by myself it is nice to pass the time but when I am racing I always wear them to keep my nerves down and to keep me focused. However, at mile 3 I didn’t even notice that I didn’t have my head phones! I hit mile 3 at 7:19 pace and that wasn’t too far off from the 7:11 pace I was aiming for.
I tried to pick up the pace for the last 2 miles. Nothing major just was hoping to take off a couple seconds and maybe get closer to my goal finish time. I haven’t felt 100% this summer for races so it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t hit my goal time. I hit mile 4 at 7:16.
During the last mile, I got passed by a man pushing a stroller but not any stroller. A DOUBLE STROLLER. Like seriously? Who is THAT bad ass? Running in the low 7s while pushing 2 children.
So obviously my goal was to stay as close to Double Stroller Man as possible for the rest of the race. He took off and while it helped my pace, I wouldn’t say I “kept up” with him. I don’t even remember seeing him at the finish.
I ended up running that last mile in 7:13 for a finish time of 36:07 a 7:14 pace. SO CLOSE TO MY GOAL TIME! Ahhhh. It wouldn’t have been a PR but just a time I thought I could come close to running but it was just out of my reach. It was a nice way to push myself though. I ended up coming in 4th in my age group which was totally fine with all the competition there and I would rather run a good time than place in my age group. This is also about a minute faster than what I ran at Bay Days last year.
The Bay Days 5 Miler is one of those races that is hit or miss with decent weather. The past 2 years we have had awesome weather for this race. It’s hard to get that lucky in the middle of the summer in Cleveland.
I wasn’t planning on any big PRs or anything for this race since I did an hour swim and 3.5 hour bike ride the day before. I wasn’t sore or anything but I didn’t think my legs/body would have anything left in them to run a good race. I did a 1.5 mile warm up though and felt pretty good so I was hopeful that I would have a decent race.
This race is huge so easily went out too fast for the first mile…sub 6:40 and definitely felt it for miles 2 and 3. I tried to just keep pushing and hold a decent pace. There is a local woman, Maureen, who whoops me at every race so I knew she was still behind me so I was holding my own.
Suddenly, out of nowhere she came out from behind and passed me! Like didn’t slowly pass me, like sprinted by! What in the world! This woman is a wonder! I tried my best to keep up with her and I couldn’t so I tried to keep her in my sights instead. Holy Moly is she fast though.
I kept pushing the rest of the race to catch up with Maureen but I’m no match for her. She probably got my by a whole 30 seconds. The whole race is really flat, almost to the point where you want a hill just to switch it up and get the downhill on the way down.
I must not have pushed myself enough during the race because I had a huge kick at the end and finished with a 37:05 which was actually faster than last years time! Not what I expected at all after a huge workout the day before.
Bay Days has become a Fourth of July tradition for Ryan and I to run and I look forward to it every year now.
For the past couple 4th of July’s I have either been out of town, injured or just not interested in running a 5 mile speed race in the July heat. Some years I find a 5K and run that instead. This year I decided to finally give the Bay Days 5 miler a shot and I got lucky with beyond perfect race temps.
I was able to do my 1.5 mile warm up and reminded of the downhill/flat course for the start of the race. I was lucky to run into another reader at the start of the race (Hi Debbie!) as well as catch up with some other runners that I normally see at the big races. Wish I had my phone with me to snap some pics.
It’s really hard at these big races to not go out too fast since people just blast by you, also because there are some baller runners at this race. After about a mile it started to thin out and I tried to concentrate on keeping a solid pace. I was coming off a bad race time so I was in need of a good time. A girl had passed me before the 1st mile but I had caught up and liked her pace. Before I knew it we were running together.
I never said a word to this girl while running with her but we pushed the pace with each other. Just enough to challenge each other but not lose each other. When we came close to another runner, we made room to go around them and then were back to running together. The last mile I felt my wheels coming off and told myself to just stick with her for half a mile more and then to drop back.
As we turned and were coming down one of the last streets I started to drop back, I was tired and wasn’t sure I could keep that pace. As soon as I started to drop back, the girl I was running with shook her head no and waved her arm for me to keep up and get back next to her. So I did.
You finish this race with about half a lap on the track. The girl picked up her pace and was going to finish hard, I tried to keep up with her and couldn’t do it so she pulled away. When I neared the straightaway I started sprinting and caught up with the girl and was able to finish with her.
I finished with a time of 37:08 and would have ran at least a min to a min and a half slower if I didn’t have the girl to pace with. It also shockingly helped me to place in my age group.
Next on the race schedule is…..well I think I have some explaining to do before I announce my next race…