Chris Uszynski has done a great job of making the events a lot of fun as well. If you go to the website, you will notice the number of races and if you go on for more detail, they all offer the two things all runners want, tee shirts and medals. The medals are very distinct and whoever is behind the design, goes out of their way to make sure they are quite distinct. The number of on-course volunteers are more then enough to keep runners on the track and there's also a lot of back-up and supplies to make sure you all have the bananas and water that's needed for after the run.
I've now done three of them, the Zombie Chase, the Color Run and just recently, Rock Me Anaphylaxis. I should also say the organization wants to be part of the community, so they always have a charity to ensure donations are made to the community. I know a lot of other races have charities and we do feel good when we combine some community good as well as exercising.
I was heading down to Windsor, which is my hometown, and that same weekend was the Rock Me Run. Of course having a race the same time I'm visiting, is a win-win for me. As an another aside, I do have a member of my family who has a very severe peanut allergy, so you might say I'm helping the family by making more people aware of the dangers of this situation. So all in all, a good reason to do a run. I also knew and this is something everybody should know, a run in Windsor is a flat run. If you are used to train and run on hills and want a break, then go to Windsor. If the thought it wouldn't be flat enough, the race was taking place along the Riverfront Trail. So there will be almost no change of elevation. If you want a PB, this might be the race to do it.
I signed up online and waited for the day to arrive. Another plus, it was on a Saturday, which tends to be a better day for me, the moral requirement and responsibility of a tuba player is a heavy one and not one that should be taken lightly. So the morning, I got up, had a nice breakfast and drove over to the Riverfront Festival Plaza, at the same time as the race, was the annual Fork & Cork festival, so there was a lot of food trucks and stands. The registration and giving of the shirts was quick and painless. Within a few minutes I was attaching my number and getting ready. One of the good things of having a food festival is a good number of porta-potties, plus the bathrooms in the festival plaza. This is important for runners and even more so for first thing in the morning.
The instruction was given, clearly understood and we all waited. As I mentioned, there was a couple of runs for the kids, both a 1 K run and a 500 meter sprint. They were fun to watch and all the kids who participated received one of the medals. The 5K was scheduled to start at 9:15AM, and they were actually a bit early. Which again, is a good thing. We all lined up, all 152 of us and waited for the blast of the horn. After some bad Michigan Wolverine jokes, apparently Chris is a Spartan, the horn was blasted and off we went. I've mentioned before that my strategy for running a 5K is very simple, run as fast as I can, for as far as I can for as long as I can. I also had set a goal of a sub 27 minute run. I've been doing 27+ long enough, I needed something faster. I was hoping to keep a close watch on my time through the GPS, but for some reason, everything was punked up and I didn't get a reading. Not sure what happened, so that strategy went by the wayside. I should say the weather was fantastic for the start, bright and sunny, moderate temperature and almost no wind. Along the route were volunteers to keep us going and to encourage us. Also a few local musicians provided some tune and gave at least an idea of the distance, or at least how much further to go. The track was well marked with the distance markers. Now it was a simple out and back so the marking were good. One of the treats of running along the River is both the Windsor Sculpture Park and the Detroit Skyline. While the years might not have been the best for Detroit, it's still inspiring to see all those tall building and the great landmarks.
A nice number of people and a nice number of all ages and both men and women. It was going to be both fun and competitive.
Not having the time, I wasn't sure what to expect as I approached the finish line, for some reason, the big clock was not visible. I think it might have had something to do with the start and finish sides of the line being reversed. So I did a quick scan to find it, the numbers were 26'45". I had done it, even though I walked for a few meters, I crushed my goal. I was so happy. I received my medal placed it gladly around my neck and walked over to get my water and banana. To achieve my goal. It felt so good. Later on a person approached me and said he was waiting for his wife to finish and he saw me nearly twist my neck off to look for the time and then he said, the look of happiness on my face made the race worth while. I was happy. I right now, look at the medal and remind myself of that great race. Was it a perfect race, no race is done perfectly. I wish I could have had the GPS working because I would have wanted to study my times and look at how things were. Was it a good run? Oh yes it was. The food was quite nice and the water felt real good. I was also curious as to my placing so I wandered over to the main station. I got my chip time, which was 26'34" even nicer, plus I was 3rd in my age group and 36th overall. Talk about being stoked after the run. They were also selling tee shirts from previous runs, so I went to get my wallet and got some money to buy last year's Zombie tee shirt. I don't know if there is an argument about finisher medals or not, but they feel so good and I believe they represent the fact that a lot of time and effort went into each person's race.
After coming back to the area, to sit down and see what else was available, I had a conversation with another runner. We asked how we did and she mentioned she wasn't sure what the time was but felt strong at the end. She was hoping for a sub-30. When she went over, her time was just a bit over 31'. Hey we've all been there as well. She was a bit disappointed, but still felt positive for her effort. We talked about other races and we talked about future runs in Windsor.
As for the allergy awareness, there was a large table of gluten-free, allegen-free snacks, which are kind of tasty. Everybody took samples and recipes, plus cards of information. There was also a bag to carry all those good things. All this was good and also made us aware of the differences in food. Just before the race, a person who suffers with allergies reminded us that not everybody can eat the same things, and there are foods which are a danger.
We also got a few tokens to enjoy some of the food trucks and I got a lemonade at the Gilligan's Lemonade Stand, what else after a good run.
The music, the course, the food trucks, all made for a real fun morning.
I'm looking over the races they have sponsored and I'm thinking that the Zombie Chase might be good reason to visit Windsor again, besides to see all the family, of course.
I would recommend that if you're in the Windsor area, or want to visit, then choose a race to run. The cost is reasonable and the course will always be good and the experience fun. For new runners, it makes for a nice 5K experience. You will feel comfortable doing one and have so much fun, you will sign up for others. Plus you will enjoy the medal you will get, because they are seriously cool. Do check out the links and make your plans. If you are going to register, and I'm able to register, say 'hi' to me at the Zombie Chase.