Mason State Bank 5K

Race Name: Mason State Bank
Distance/Type: 5k
Race Location: Mason, MI
Race Date: May 3, 2013

Finish Time: 31:04 
Finish Place (Age Division & Overall): 16/33 & 357/786

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Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love the little town of Mason that Mark and I live in. It is such an amazing town with beautiful parks, a historic downtown, great public safety services and we have tons of festivals and parades to enjoy all year long.

A portion of historic downtown Mason.

A portion of historic downtown Mason.

This year was the 25th annual running of the Mason State Bank 5k. I was hoping to run this race last year, but since I am nursing an injury I got while running in the Flying Pirate Half Marathon I was not able to. This year, there was no way I was going to miss it. I mean, let’s be honest… How can you miss a race where the starting gate is only three blocks from your front door? Plus, all of the proceeds of the race go to the Mason Public Schools Foundation!

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Welcome sign for the Mason State Bank 5k. Directly behind the sign is the start/finish line on Maple Street.

One thing that I love about this race is how it is a night time run which means I do not have to get up extremely early in the morning. I normally run all my training runs after work, except my long runs on Sunday’s which Mark and I do together in the morning before he goes to work — so racing in the evening is always fun for me.

The Mason State Bank 5k is one of Playmaker’s Greater Lansing Race Series for 2013.  For Mason being a little town they have an amazing turn out at the race with over 780 runners!! The beginning and end of the race are on Maple Street right next to the beautiful historic Courthouse.

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The starting and finish line of the Mason State Bank 5k.

I took off for downtown around 6:20 pm –and once there I jogged around a few blocks to warm-up and then found a place the stretch towards the end of the starting gate. This is one race I doubt Mark will ever be able to run with me, since he always has to work the event — and I was hoping I would be able to at least see him before the race. With 5 minutes left till race time Mark was busy and I was not going to interrupt him so I took off and went to line up.

Waiting for the race to begin!

Waiting for the race to begin!

 The race began at 7:00 pm exactly. It took me about 30 seconds to get across the starting line. We took off down Maple Street, headed down towards Rayner Ponds, ran a loop back through the subdivision and shot back out Columbia Street, down to Barnes Street where we headed back up a “hill” towards the finish line on Maple Street.

As I talked about in my article “The Basics of Running: Speed Training“, I have never been a very fast runner. I have gone through the past three years of running with the mind set of: Just make it across the finish line. My finish time has never been that important to me. Although I normally finish with a somewhat respectful finish time, I know for a fact that I can do better! Well this year is different! I am working very hard to improve my speed. The one thing I have not publicly told anyone — but my Mother — is that this year, is my year to PR.  I am really hoping that I can set new PR records for 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon. (I was able to knock one distance off that race when I PRed the Martian Invasion 10k earlier this year, knocking 5 minutes off my finish time!!)

I was REALLY hoping that I would able to set my new 5k PR during this race! My current PR for a 5k is 28:46, which means I had to run faster than 9:10 miles in order to set a new PR. Was it possible? Yes, as long as I was able to really push myself!  My training runs have been between 10:45-10:00 miles, so I knew racing at a 9:10 pace was possible.

When the race began I took off on the slight downhill on Maple Street and knew   I was going to have somewhat of a rough race. My legs felt like jello (oh, no!), my strides were awkward and choppy, and I was struggling to keep the pace I wanted since I was having the urge to run with the crowds. (I can tell you from experience running with the crowds NEVER ends well!) Luckily I was able to calm myself down and settle into a nice steady pace.

I hit the 1 mile mark at the clock read 10:15. I knew it took me 20-30 seconds to get across the starting line when the race began, so I knew I was close to where I needed to be in order to PR. About .25 miles after the 1 mile marker when the loop course came back together I noticed Mark driving the lead car come around the corner with the race leader right behind him. Mark stuck his yellow folder out of the window and waved at me as I ran/he drove by.  From 1.5-2.0 miles I struggled maintaining my breath, but I pushed myself on.

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Mark in the lead car!

I hit the 2 mile marker and the clock read 20:00 flat. Although I had knocked time off from the first mile, I knew that running the next 1.1 mile (with a large hill at the end) faster than 8:46 was almost impossible. I hit me like a lead balloon that I was not going to PR this race and that really took the wind out of my sails. Ugh! I beat myself up for the next 200 yards then told myself I was not going to throw away a respectable finish time just because I was not going to PR. So I put my head down and pushed on.

I ran by Steve who was at the corner of Columbia and Rogers but he was too busy talking to notice me. The next block at the corner of Columbia and Barnes I saw Don who pulled out his camera and snapped a picture of me waving at him. I rounded the corner onto Barnes and took off up the hill towards the finish line. Let me tell you what, I was mentally swearing the whole way up the hill! 🙂 With 1 block left on the hill I looked up towards the top and noticed Mark standing up there waiting to watch me finish. I waved — he waved — and I pushed on rounding the corner onto Maple Street while Mark stood there clapping and cheering me on. As I ran those last 20 yards towards the finish line the PA announcer announced my name and my town (Meghan Reckling from right here in Mason!). I smiled and pushed myself the final few feet across the finish line. Although I did not PR — having a finish time of 31:04 means I ran 10 minute miles which for me is great!

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Finisher Photo from the Mason State Bank 5k.

I grabbed a bottle of water, took a few minutes to stretch and headed back down where I had last seen Mark standing. He had moved down the block and was getting ready to lead the Kid’s 1 Mile Run so I stood there and cheered on all the kids running.

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The start of the Kid’s 1 Mile Run.

Overall the Mason State Bank 5k is an amazing race! I know, I know — since it is in the town I live in and run through every day, of course I think it is a great race! Definitely a race I will be running on a yearly basis.

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