Running Around Cleveland


2011 Smiles for Sophie 5k
July 4, 2011, 10:08 pm
Filed under: 5k, Cleveland, Race Report, Running | Tags: , , ,

Smiles for Sophie 5k was my first 5k since December of 2008, I ran the Reindeer Run in 39:55.9. I have been training for long distance races and really had no idea what to expect from myself today with a shorter distance. I ran a 4.25 mile tempo run a couple weeks ago where the first 5k at a 7:36 pace, so I made a guess that I could do this race at a 7:30 pace. To help reach this goal I was able to enlist the help of my running friend Ryan to pace me on this race.

Smiles for Sophie is a fundraising race for Pediatric Brain Cancer research. It is in honer of a little girl, named Sophie, born on July 4th, 2003 and died of brain cancer at the age of 4. I love running holiday races, and the added bonus of fundraising for such a good cause just made it better. This race was also the first time any of my family was able to come watch me race and it was more of a family oriented race than I have ever been to. I brought my 7 year old daughter Abigail, the twins, and my parents. The park that the race started and finished up was set up like and kids birthday party and Abigail’s eyes lit up when she got out of the car and saw it. The weather was perfect this morning for a Race. Start line temp was 72° with moderate humidity and mostly cloudy.

Ryan, Jessica, Molly, Kimi, and Me

As race time got closer, I met up with some of Cleveland’s most fantastic and inspiring runners. Ryan was there to pace me. Jess was there to beat me. Molly was there to take home more hardware. And Kimi was there to gun for a PR. I also ran into Terri who coaches with me in Northeast Ohio Fit.

Abigail was very excited to see me race for the first time!

The start of this race was a little different. Since it was in tribute to Sophie on her birthday, not only was the National Anthem sung before the race, but we also sang Happy Birthday to her. It was a pretty moving moment, especially realizing that Abigail is less than a year younger than Sophie would have been. They also gave all the runners a Carnation to throw into the yard at Sophie’s house when we passed.

The race started with Ryan and I a little farther back in the pack than we probably should have started. With it being such a family friendly event there were lots of kids and strollers congesting the first leg of the race and it did slow us a little at the start, but at the half mile Ryan and I had our Garmins predicting a 7:33 pace for the first mile. We kept pushing it hard to try and get that first mile down to that 7:30 pace. Just before one mile we passed Sophie’s house and I tossed my flower into her lawn. My mile alert went off and the first mile was at a 7:21. Ryan checked to make sure I wasn’t pushing too hard but I felt good and decided to keep pushing. Mile 2 had the only water stop, at which I did grab a drink, and a slight log jam at the 1.75 mile mark. I got mile 2 at a 7:27. Ryan saw how well I was doing and I could feel him pushing me slighter harder. At the halfway point of mile 3 I was at a predicted pace of 7:22 and I could still see Jess, I never expected that. She is fast. That means I was going fast too. I was getting tired but I kept on pushing it. Ryan left me at the 3 mile mark and I took off with all I could give. Final time was 22:33.9 for a pace of 7:16. A new PR by 17:22!

Finishing strong!

And it was a phenomenal day for all the CLEFit studs. Ryan was a heck  of a pacer for his first time, thank you sir. Molly and Jess took 2nd and 4th in their age group respectively. And Kimi has now PRed in two 5ks straight. You guys are ballers!

The day got even better for me as a dad. I got to see Abigail run her first race. She ran in the kid’s 50 yard dash.

Abigail at her first race start line.

I also have to say what a sweet little girl Abigail is. They gave her a carnation before the race and she was so excited to have a flower. When we left the race, I told her what the runners did with the flowers. She immediately asked me to take her to Sophie’s house so she could leave her flower too. Very proud dad moment here.

Such a sweet little girl.

It was a fantastic day running around Cleveland.

Make sure you check out Molly’s and Kimi’s race reports for Smiles for Sophie too.


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great recap! You did so great today!!! So glad to finally meet IRL and also meet Abigail and the twins!

Comment by kimi

A new 5k PR by 17:22? Holy smokes! Amazing job, Coach! Sophie’s 5k sounds like a nice event. How exciting for you and your children. I love the final picture of Abigail sharing her carnation with Sophie……What a little sweetie!
Congratulations on another great race!
-lee anne

Comment by lee anne

Sounds like I missed a great race. Way to go with the PR too 🙂

Comment by Hungry in Cleveland

[…] and Justin ran some awesome races and both PR’d!!! Woot Woot! Ryan was there to pace Justin but says […]

Pingback by Smiles For Sophie 5K | mojamala2

i was supposed to run this with my daughter too. she’s 17 and rarely ever asks me to run, so i jumped at the chance to run with her. she was supposed to fly back from st. louis on sunday night, but her flight was cancelled due to weather and she didn’t get home until monday at 2:00 in the afternoon. reading your report makes me bummed that it didn’t work out, but i’m sure there will be other opportunities soon. great run! great PR! great report! great cause! way to go justin.

Comment by Bill Roddy

I am really behind on my blog reading this week. But Abigail is super cute. I love the pic of her before her race starts. She looks so ready to go. Awesome job at your race. I need ot get faster now so you dont beat me. You were right on my tail

Comment by mojamala2




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