The Little Silver 5K Classic takes place in the Red Bank area of NJ. Mike (of the ‘Dad Posse’) and his family moved there recently and had invited us (‘Dad Posse’ and their respective families + baker) out for the race and a BBQ.
Ed was picking me up in the early afternoon Saturday to head out so I used the morning to go for a 30 mile bike ride around the city. It was a beautiful day and for once, i wasn’t anxious about leaving the city as I normally get, I was genuinely excited to get out for the weekend!
Ed and his wife Annelise picked me up around 3 to head south. I sat in the way back with their eldest son Jack, who is also a runner. We chatted about our race strategies for the next day, also having a deep discussion regarding LEGOS and which theme set was best. The younger two, Isabelle and Ben, were sound asleep for most of the trip.
Mike and Kara live on a very cute street with their two children Kelly and Kevin. As we pulled up, droves of neighborhood kids were running and playing in the yard. We exchanged ‘hellos’ and then immediately got a tour of the new house, which is quite a beautiful place. Jim and Lisa arrived shortly after with their two daughters Josephine and Elizabeth.
They have a big backyard with a deck (and had a cooler of Coronas), so we planted ourselves there. The kids were down in the basement playing and having a blast. All the kids range in age from 4 to 9 and I must say, are very well behaved and quite an adorable little bunch.
Mike and Kara have a fire-pit (which rules) so we helped all the kids make s’mores. After the kids ate, the adults sat down to an amazing meal prepared by Mike and Kara. Later in the night I found myself sitting at the kitchen bar with the guys as we ‘Carbo-loaded’ on beer for the race. SIDE NOTE: why is it at every gathering people always gravitate to the kitchen? I’ve seen this many a time. Around 1-1:30AM we decided it best to get some sleep.
At 6AM the kids started stirring, and therefore so did we. We had coffee and a big breakfast spread of bagels, bananas, muffins and yes, my Chia Seeds. We got the kids ready, tagging them with their race numbers, and then heading out for the local High School.
It was brisk with a fall chill in the air. The first race was the kid’s 1 Mile. Jack and Kelly ran this one and did great! In fact they were probably top 10! We had 30 minutes before the 5K and we were all hanging out chatting. I spent most of the time fake ‘Star Wars’ fighting Ben (the 4 year old) which was a workout in itself.
By now it had warmed up to 60-65 degrees and the sun was out. Perfect running conditions. We all made our way to the start. Jim, Lisa, Annelise, Mike and myself were the adult runners. Ed still has a sore knee from the Half-Marathon the weekend prior so he sat this one out.
At the front of the pack I was hanging out with a group of 3, 6th graders who were really funny. Some jerk behind me told them “You kids better watch out, if you’re not fast you’ll get trampled.” They looked worried so I leaned in and said “Don’t listen to that fool, you will be totally fine!” I mean c’mon buddy, it’s a local race, not Olympic Time Trials.
As the gun went off I immediately jumped in behind a guy who I pegged for some serious competition. We were flying down the road, I was flanking him to his right side. This guy was very fast and had a serious stride. Nearing the first turn (the course was one big block, and ended on the track at the HS) he sped up and I thought “No way can I keep this up.” I backed off and caught my pace. As we took the turn I glanced to my left and saw that we had put some distance on the rest of the pack.
I ran the first mile at 5:24… whoa momma.
It was right around this time I heard footsteps coming from behind, coming fast. This kid in a Tri-suit passed me, blazing down the course. On the back stretch the lead man had 1 minute on me and then the 2nd guy had 30 seconds on me, a serious distance in a 5K. I always kept my eyes locked on the number 2 guy, pressing forward.
As we neared the High School I could hear cheering and got pumped! I was very tired and was seriously looking to end this race.
I hit the track and started around my final 300 meters, people screaming. I knew there was a guy behind me, but I wasn’t sure how far back. It was then, that a spectator yelled, “He is like 30 yards behind you, you got this!” I thought “Thank you helpful spectator.” As I took the top curve I could see him in my peripheral, I also knew, if he was going to make his move, it would be now. I picked my pace up to a sprint as I entered the straight away. To my right were all the kids… Jack, Kevin, Kelly, Ben, Elizabeth, Josephine and Isabelle (Kara and Ed too) yelling and cheering me on! I waved and got a burst of crowd energy, finishing in 17:40, a personal record.
I grabbed a water and headed up to the finish to cheer on the rest of the gang.
The first one we spotted was Mike. He cruised by in great form and also finished with a PR!
Next Annelise, Lisa and Jim came running around. They all made it in under 30:00 which was a PR for the gals. Jim had run a serious 20 miles the day before so he wasn’t out to set any land speed records.
After we finished there were lot of high fives and excitement. As they announced the winners I heard my name “Christopher Baker, hailing from New York City! Third Place overall!” They gave me a trophy and some gift certificates! SIDE NOTE: Why was this important to me? This was the first trophy I had ever won. To much disbelief, no, I had never run Track in High School, nor played on any sports teams. I was an artist (still am) and only in the last year or two have become interested in competing. Just ask my brothers… they will say something like ‘Yeah, he’s bad at sports’.
The younger kids had races after us. You have never seen anything cuter than 25, 4 year olds running a 50 yard dash with smiles on their faces! All of them ran in their respective age groups. Jack really did well in the 220, which is 1/2 of a lap. I think he came in second or third and was really cooking! He has real potential to be a serious runner as he gets older! In fact, all the kids looked really good out there so we might have a young running team on our hands. All the kids get medals and a cookie (I unfortunately, did not get a cookie).
What was so great about this dynamic was that all of us were feeding off of each others accomplishments. The adults ch
eering the kids and vice versa. No 1 race took precedence over another, all were of importance. Everyone came out feeling great and having a really fun time. Its so crucial to have a group of people that supports you, especially in a competitive environment like that.
Before leaving, we spent the early part of the afternoon at Mike and Kara’s having a delicious lunch (I had Kara’s chili which was superb!) and playing in the backyard with the kids. Thanks for having us over Mike and Kara!