Yay! My first race of the year is now under the belt. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome, and extremely excited for what will be in store for the rest of my summer races. I ended up with a PR time of 1:44.21 for the 25k (15.5 miles) and it felt so good to be running fast again. I was also encouraged to see how I stacked up against the competition in my age bracket, because this race doubles as the national championship for road 25k, meaning that many of the ladies I was competing against in my age bracket were professional runners. It was amazing to have that kind of competition in a local road race, and one of the reasons why I keep coming back to the Riverbank run.
Another reason why this weekend was so great is because this race and I go waaaay back. The Old Kent Riverbank run, as it was named back then, was my very first 5k I ever entered at the wee age of 10. I had joined the Little Cats Running Club at my elementary school and the culmination of all of our after school practices was to trek up to the big city of Grand Rapids and complete the 5k at the end of the year. It amuses me to look back and remember how long 3 miles felt to those little legs. Now I can say that I have competed in the Riverbank run every year since (with the exception of last year when I was in Africa), bumping up to the 25k the last four years. This race tradition has become so engrained into my running life that I can’t really imagine kicking off the summer running schedule without it.
This year it was particularly special to compete in the Riverbank run because this year I had the support of UR SPORTSWEAR. They supplied me with a uniform and offered encouragement throughout my training. I was proud to be running for a team again and also for the chance to help this great company reach more athletes. The shorts were amazing to run in, and would recommend them to anyone looking for some quality spandex that stay in place, look fantastic, and even have a pocket for all your racing necessities. Can’t wait to represent them again at my next race!