Trooper Ken Iwaniec Memorial 5K/10K

Hello, hello friends! Happy Monday to you!

This past weekend was pretty busy but everything I did was fun (yes, even the 4 hours of yard work!) and the days just flew by as they normally do. Friday evening was spent with my mom working on wedding favors and when I finally headed home, I got prepared for my first race of this season! I decided to jump right in and start with a 10K!

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The Trooper Ken Iwaniec Memorial race is held every year at Saint Vincent College, which is my alma mater. Trooper Iwaniec was also an alumnus and, shortly after graduating from there and the Pennsylvania State Police academy, was killed by a drunk driver coming home from one of his shifts. Since the tragic accident, Trooper Iwaniec’s family has been crusading against drunk driving and holding this race every year is one part of their campaign. You can read all about the memorial foundation here.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that the sun was already starting to light up the sky at 5:45am! I got myself ready, took care of the pups, and left to go pick up Lee from work. He is a saint and agreed to run the race with me after working a 12-hour shift overnight. We left the station around 7:15am, when his shift was over, and drove down to the college. The turnout was fantastic! It was crowded and there were a ton of people there, which I was happy to see! My former boss was working one of the pledge stations so, after registering and a picking up our packets, we headed over to chat with her and get ready for the race.

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I don’t know how you all feel before races, but I am a total basket case. I always feel so nervous…and it stems from the notion that I’m going to do terrible and finish last. I’m not sure why I think that and I really need to stop psyching myself out like that!

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Anyway, after hanging around for about an hour, we finally headed to the start line. The course is set up as a 5K distance and the 10K runners just do it twice. We started off at the main entrance to the campus and followed a big loop which took us past the gristmill (where monks still make bread!), past the Saint Vincent Wetlands project (where I spent much time as a bio major!), around the cemetery (the college is also a seminary and parish), and around the back of the dorms on the running trail back to the start/finish line. I loved the route and it brought back many memories as I ran which gave me something else to think about other than the hills!

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Soon after our first mile, Lee stopped to grab a cup of water and use his inhaler. He has asthma and when he runs races, he is never sure how is body is going to react. I looked over at him and he gave the signal to “keep going without me” so I took off and continued. I felt great during the first loop and as I started the second but then I started to feel myself slow down about mile 4.5. I think it’s a mental block that I get right in the middle of a race…I feel like I’ve come far but that I also have quite a way to go! Unfortunately, mile 4.5 came right at the steepest hill in the race as well. I just put my head down, thought about anything but that hill, and, finally, reached the top! I knew I had one relatively flat loop around the cemetery, a completely flat run on the trail, and a downhill slope to the finish line left so I told myself to perk up and just finish!

Can I just tell you how much I love downhill finishes!?

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My goal was to beat my last 10K time which was 55:40. As I crossed over the 5K finish line, half way through my race, my time was 27:17 so I knew I had pick it up or at least keep my pace steady to beat 55 minutes. As I approached the finish line I saw ‘53’ and I was pumped! My official end time was 53:25, finishing fifth in my age group. Success!!

Lee was waiting for me at the finish, obviously, since he snapped a picture, but I didn’t see him until a few minutes after I crossed. He made his way over to me and handed me a bottle of water. I was glad to see him! We recapped our runs with each other, chatted with my friend, Cindy, and her dog, Zieke (who is the cutest!), and headed inside to grab some fuel!

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Smiley cookies for the win!

We hung around for an about an hour after the race and then headed home so Lee could finally get some sleep. He was such a trooper for staying up and running with me. Just one of the many reasons that I love him and he’s such a keeper!

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Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day and the weather was absolutely perfect for running! I couldn’t have asked for a nicer way to start of my race season!

Have a wonderful Monday!

With much Love and Laughter,
Kelly

Something to share: Have you had a favorite race this year so far or is there a particular one you are looking forward to running?

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