Race Report : Commitment Day 5K Cleveland

A few weeks back I learned about the Commitment Day 5K sponsored by Lifetime Fitness. I saw lots of chatter about it from fellow FitFluential pals, and I’ll be honest, I thought it was just a fancy way of saying “I’ll run a 5K on January first”. It wasn’t until about a week ago I found out it was an actual race. Oops.

See I took part in a Twitter chat for #FitFluential and #MyCommitment and shared my resolutions and advice and had a really fun night talking away with everyone. A friend of mine (Liz aka @Aquamindy) sent me a note the next day asking if I planned to run. I was a little confused since she lives a good chunk of time away from me, but if she wanted to run together, it could be fun, right? We shared a few more back and forth tweets, when I followed a link and learned there was an ACTUAL event in Cleveland!

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Commitment Day 5K is a nationwide event. Being of EST we lucked out and were able to sleep in more than others, but at the same time in cities all across the US, hundreds, up to thousands of people joined together to walk/run/stroller 3.1 miles of their city in celebration of health and happiness.

When I went to the website, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pay the fee. It wasn’t unreasonable, but I was coming off my Christmas budget and didn’t have much wiggle room. Guess what? Liz had won TWO entries to the race as part of the Twitter chat! She asked if I wanted to go too and of course I said yes! A chance for an interesting race and to spend some time with a friend? Absolutely. We’ve been Twitter pals for a while, but didn’t meet until the VitaMix TweetUp last month.

The days leading up to the event I was nervous how I would run 2 5Ks within 24 hours, but more excited about the energy. Sadly, Liz was fighting a cold (much like everyone else it seems) so she graciously offered me BOTH entries! Enter Gale to the rescue! Fast forward to race morning…Gale fell ill too! I couldn’t let that stand in my way though, so on January first 2013, I found myself driving to the land of Cleve.

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I knew how to get there and the roads were not bad at all. My only complaint was once I arrived at Quicken Loans Arena, they were charging for parking! The race was over $30, the drive was about 45 minutes and now I had to pay an additional $10? Not cool.

I sucked it up though, because at least my car would be safe and I gathered my stuff and went inside. Down the steps I went and I almost expected to feel the chill of the ice since I’d only been to this arena for hockey games. It was weird to see wooden floors and to walk around to the check-in table. Check-in was SUPER organized and they kept your shirt and goodie bag until after the event. I thought this was nice so you wouldn’t have to figure out how to get to your car or where to stash everything. Two noteworthy areas were the professional photo booth and the giant banner to sign your commitment.

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I hung around a few more minutes, found some friends of Grunt Girl Racing. Then headed outside for the main attraction.

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The race kicked off on time and there was a moment where I took in the fact I was a part of this amazing national movement. Steady on the ice and down the road I trotted. My goal was to not stop running the whole race, not fall because of the ice, and hopefully make it back in under 35 minutes.

Maybe because I’ve run so many courses over the years in Cleveland, but there was nothing exceptionally noteworthy. Mile one was mostly uphill and traveled a bridge I’m fond of running across. At the top of the bridge, by some coincidence, a flock of birds flew over. Not just a flock of birds though, hundreds of birds gracefully moving across the sky. It felt like a scene from an Italian romance movie. Mile one I finished around 11:30.

Mile two was a collection of city streets and smiling at the runners all around me. I finished at 22-something, putting me just close enough to a negative split to pat myself on the back. It was also a battle with my ever fatigued legs. Within this mile we were blessed with water. I highly enjoyed the fact it was so cold out, the water was turning to ice in the cups. After this icy delicious treat we went up another bridge/hill, but I was cautious because I knew when we cleared the corner we would go up a final hill and I needed to save some oomph.

The last portion of the race I overheard different music and friends cheering each other toward the finish. I gazed out over the water and imagined what wonders the new year could bring. A year ago I wasn’t allowed to run. A year ago, I saw at home wondering if I was sick and going to die (didn’t know what was wrong with my heart yet) and it’s amazing how a short 365 days later I was completing my second 5K within 24 hours and my heart was beating just fine. More than just fine.

I crossed the finish line according to my watch at 35:41 (but also at 3.3 miles?) It was another snowy finish and I was all smiles. I grabbed some water and fruit and went back in to get my stuff and talk to friends. BTW who thought steps after a race were a good idea? At least there were handrails!

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Thanks for a fun event Lifetime Fitness and THANK YOU Liz for giving me the chance to experience it! I highly recommend everyone do this event next year. The shirt is cute and the journal is great for tracking your progress throughout the year.

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PS. This race also represented my entry for the Virtual Resolution Run for Run to the Finish as well as my first installment for the 5 by the 5th series for both RTTF and Mommy, Run Fast!

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