Yesterday I ran the Bay Days 5-Miler in Bay Village, Ohio for the second year in a row.
I can easily see making this race an Independence Day tradition. It’s one of (maybe the…?) largest July 4 races in Cleveland. The pool this year had more than 600 people and the race is in it’s 39th year. But despite it’s rich history, I have a few critiques which I’ll get to soon. First my stats, which were a very slight improvement over last year’s time.
Official Time: 1:00:31
Age Group Placing (F 25-29): 42/43
Overall Placing: 600/624
My initial reaction was I was very happy with my time. This is the longest I have run in … months! I managed to race at an even pace and walked away pain-free. No IT band issues. Hurrah! That being said, this race is huge and popular and competitive. I hardly ever place at small races but at Bay Days – impossible. Looking at the crowds it seemed like a third of the field was very young too, aged 16 to 21.
Mile 1 & 2: I started out at a 12:00/mile pace which I ended up keeping the entire race. I prepared well for this race with good hydration the night and morning before. I was nervous at the start but soon feel into a rhythm. I reminded myself not to concern myself with how fast the others were. I was only racing against myself.
Mile 3: I was still feeling really good here. Being I was more than halfway done I realized I could and would finish strong. I kept that even pace along with good form and foot strike. I wanted to avoid aggravating my IT band at any cost.
Mile 4 & 5: By the time I reached the second water stop, I think it was just before Mile 4, I was started to tire a bit. But I felt like I had enough gas left in the tank to finish strong. The finish line is on the track at Bay Village High School. I really enjoy track finishes. I was able to sprint the last several hundred yards and pass five or six people! My husband was shocked when he saw me come in around the hour mark. (He was expecting me to come in much later.)
My critiques for this race are it’s huge. But you would think organizers would realize this and plan accordingly. Instead when I finished there was no Gatorade left and worse – no cups! Yeah. Big post-race fail. Fortunately I had a water bottle in the vehicle. The post-race area is also really crowded. We picked up our packets pre-race this year and I would highly advise this to avoid pre-race crowding, although I was able to use the restroom in the high school without a long wait before the race.
On a positive note, I really like the race shirts this year. Mine actually fits!