Monday, July 22, 2013

Race Recap: Sovereign State Days 5K

This weekend, I returned to my old high school in Winneconne, WI where I graduated in the class of '92. It's a small town, a village to be exact, that I couldn't wait to move away from when I was 17 years old. Now, I treasure each return. It's classic small town America - where everyone seems to know one another, and even if they don't, they still smile, wave and say "good morning".  I always feel relaxed there and renewed that life can still be so simple.

The initial reason for my trip north was to drop my kiddos off for a week at Grandma's. When I realized it was Sovereign State Days, I decided to make a weekend out of it. Sovereign State Days is an annual festival in Winneconne... softball/volleyball/fishing tournaments, street dances, fireworks, big parade, flea markets, food and more... All stemming from a historical error in 1967 when the small village was left off the Wisconsin state map. See full story here. It's the best weekend of the year to be in Winneconne... and this year, they added a 5K to the festivities!!

My high school track in the background. This 5K was a
fundraiser to build a new track for future generations.
I was happy to play a small part in that goal.

A long run was on my calendar and I was excited to run somewhere new. My running routine has felt stale lately and I needed something to perk it up. On Saturday, my #runjoy returned - in a place that ironically made me hate running years ago.

The cool temps blew in through the night and I awoke to the perfect run morning on Saturday. I picked up my race bib at the high school and then set out for some early miles. I ran past my Grandma's house. I ran past my Grandpa's grave. I ran past the ole ice cream stand. I reminisced grade school pals as I traced the village streets. I even ran past the spot of my first kiss! It was such a fun run down memory lane. Before I knew it, six miles had disappeared and I turned to head back to the high school.

My timing was perfect. I stopped at the car, made a quick shoe change, pinned on my number and lined up at the Sovereign State 5K starting line with less than 100 people. It was probably the smallest race I've ever run in, but I did enjoy it. My official 5K time was 27:50 (8:58 pace), which I was pretty happy with - considering my 7 mile warmup.

My goal was to make today's workout a long progressive run - meaning each mile is run faster than the one before. The more miles you run, the harder it obviously becomes. The progressive run is great race training, to replicate the exhaustion you feel in those final miles. My first mile bounced off a little quickly, but I scaled back to do a fairly decent job with the long progression. I was especially pleased with the juice I had for the final three miles.
9:45,  10:11,  10:03,  10:00,  9:59,  9:53,  9:49,  8:49,  9:02,  9:01
10 miles in the bank!

I feel like I exorcised some demons this weekend. This old track, now cracking and rough around the edges, was the place that I developed a hatred for running 20+ years ago. Seriously, I quit track after my freshman year... and dreaded that timed mile in gym class. I literally had nightmares about my heart pounding out of my chest, rounding that same track that was now my finish line. In my opinion, running was taught as a punishment or a contest, where let's face it - only the physically gifted had fun. Looking back, I wish the focus had been on developing enjoyment for the sport, especially in the Phy Ed classes. Perhaps we'd have more young adults make running a lifestyle choice. Not everyone is graced with speed, but we can all be runners... to lead and enjoy a healthier life. This is the lesson we need to be teaching young students.


  1. This post really made me miss home and my grandma! Glad you got your runjoy back :)

  2. I want to go home and run my home turf too! =) Glad you were able to do that.

  3. I could not possibly agree with you more about running and school! You inspired me to blog about it after about a year of not blogging - but I have run fairly consistently for the year!

  4. Perfectly done progression run!!! Congrats!


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