Race Report : St Malachi 5 Miler

Before I begin this report I think I should note something significant happening in my life on Friday.

Around noon I placed a phone call to a parent to ask why their child was late/absent from their session. The parent then informed me the child passed away the week before. How and why and all the other details are not important, nor is it appropriate to share on social media. What I can share after hanging up from the call I broke down crying. I spent the next several hours in a blur of crying, and anger, and confusion. When I arrived at home I immediately went to bed. About 90 minutes later Jason called and “forced” me to get up, get dressed and leave the house. I am thankful he was there for me, but as one of my coworkers said, we can’t go back to a time before this happened and I’ll never be the same. In the end I could let this hurt me or I can let it help me become a better person and a better counselor.

Saturday morning I woke up hesitantly, but dedicated to live my life. My client was an adrenaline junkie and I knew they would give anything to have one more rush of physical activity. I prepared myself for the race and although I knew it would be cold, I reminded myself it was a part of being alive.


I drove up to St Malachi church in Cleveland and surprised myself by knowing my way around. How and when did THAT happen? I saw the church up ahead, but it was crowded x10 and followed a fellow car who made a u-turn and parked in a nearby lot. A lady and I made up our own spaces (because that’s how we roll) and I chilled in the car until slightly before time to run. Why was I hiding in the car? Well, probably because it was doing this…



Yep. With about 20 minutes before start time I made my way into the nasty sleet/rain/snow mix and picked up my shirt. Luckily it was shirt only pick up and not packets so I tied it around my waist and made my way through the sea of flesh to the great outdoors. Along the way I saw Heidi and Niall who wished me well as I did them. Then I met up with Liz P and we chatted a bit. I also opted to keep my phone hidden for fear of all the moisture hurting it, so sadly, there are no more pictures of the event. Please forgive.

Soon enough the announcement went off and we were running. I decided to try and run as much as possible, even if my legs were STILL SORE from tababta on Tues! Whoa. I listed to my phone/radio and fell into a rhythm. The cold and wet hurt at first, but it also kept me from crying too much. The sadness of the reality of life I couldn’t shake and the thoughts of how precious time and people are kept coming in waves.

Mile one came to an end around 15 minutes according to the official clock, more like 13 per my own. I stopped to stretch and retie my shoes, then was back at it again. The course was different from the last time I ran this route. I didn’t like the changes. One reason I liked Malachi was the challenge and difference in scenery from other Cleveland races. In 2013 the race now goes from the church, across a bridge, through a piece of the city, down past the Rock Hall and Brown’s Stadium, along the access road for the airport and back the way it came. Boring.

Approaching mile 2 I realized something felt “off” and when I reached for my key (which I pinned since I didn’t have a pocket in my pants) it was gone! I panicked, but kept running. What choice did I have really? I called my Mom and I called Jason. Mom had a spare key and Jason agreed to bring it to me. I passed mile 2 relieved to know I wasn’t completely stranded.

Mile 3 was tough because the tightness in my legs had given in and my left foot was numb and heavy. I pushed on over the slush and attempted to keep a somewhat steady “trot”. I was maintaining a 13:00 pace which wasn’t too upsetting to me. Mile 4 was similar to 3, but with hope as I approached the city again. My glasses were fogged/iced over and the police moved the end of the race onto the sidewalks. My plan to look for my key was ruined. It didn’t occur to me to have Jason start driving up at that point.

I’m proud to say I didn’t stop running the rest of the time on route. I made it across the finish in what looked like 1:06:xx, later the official time would only help me gain 1 minute. Part of me really wanted to finish in under an hour, but 5 minutes off isn’t the end of the world.

After asking everyone I could find at the end if they found a key, I dialed home and dialed Jason and arranged for salvation. I even had to turn my phone off b/c using it for music and tracking miles KILLS your battery. Ugg. I also had to walk to a bar to hang out because the church was closed up. I was soaked in ice water, sore and scared. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be alone.

It felt like FOREVER before Jason arrived. I had never been so happy to see anyone in my life and his car felt like heaven. I warmed up a little, then got into my own car with the spare key and drove home. Before reaching home though, I stopped and made 2 copies of my key. One went back to my Mom, the other is stored secretly in my car. It’s A LOT cheaper to have someone open your door for you then it is to have a spare key made. Sheesh. What a way to kick off the weekend, huh? Stay tuned for race report #2 tomorrow since I did ANOTHER race on Sunday!

I should probably add some final thoughts about the race itself. The price isn’t bad for a 5 miler ($25 I think), and the long sleeve cotton shirts are nice. Although I personally don’t like when the use grey as the main shirt color. The new route is boring, but it’s also easier than the previous route, so more people should feel confident in signing up. Even with a HUGE crowd, the pick up and start of the race were well managed. The after party seemed great (probably was if I went under different circumstances). I always felt safe while running and even being a slower runner I was never alone. Despite the poor weather there were cheer sections, and on course everyone was helpful and in good spirits. Is this a must do event for me next year? No. Would I do it again? Sure.

2 thoughts on “Race Report : St Malachi 5 Miler

  1. I always fear losing a car key. Every mile marker is a reminder to check my pocket or fanny pack. Sorry I missed you down there, Julie. One of the few ‘must runs’ every year for me, as 5 miles is about my limit for a street run.

  2. Pingback: St Patrick's Day 5K Race ReportROJ Running

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