Waterfall 5K full of surprises

I told Ben* that one of the perks** of running the Waterfall 5K — a scenic but challenging trail race at Kokiwanee Nature Preserve in Wabash County — was the cool A4 shirts they give out.

The falls just a little ways down from where the course crosses the creek.

Imagine his dismay when he discovered that this year’s shirt has a picture of his mother crossing the falls in the 2011 race.

You can’t see my face, so it’s possible none of his friends would even notice. But it remains to be seen whether he ever gets around to wearing his shirt.

That was the first surprise of the day. The second was discovering that the race had been lengthened a bit — and that the added section included yet another hill right off the bat.

The third surprise: Despite going out way too fast, nearly tumbling down a steep slope just before the falls and basically running out of gas before I even got out of the woods, I wound up finishing second*** in my age group.

(It’s not clear whether there were more than two competitors in my division; there were only around a hundred runners in the entire race.)

Finally, the fourth surprise was running into the “genial, well padded” guy I met during the May 20 Fox Island Triathlon. His name is Chad Ware, and he gave me a ton of grief for my description of his physique in my News-Sentinel column. (I pointed out that I was much more well-padded not that long ago myself.)

Turns out Chad has run seven marathons, the Huff 50K and is even planning to run an inaugural 100-mile race at Chain O’Lakes State Park next spring.

He’s also the race director of the Gator Gallop, a 5K church benefit just a few miles from our house. Despite the fact that it’s the same day as the Swiss Days race, I told him I may sign up, since his is in the evening. It would be sort of fun to run two races in one day.

*I’m not allowed to reveal Ben’s time, which didn’t thrill him but wasn’t too surprising as he’s been swimming and playing baseball without running much. Needless to say, it was still quite a bit better than mine.

**The other perks: a generous post-race cookout with great camaraderie, beautiful scenery, and a portion of race proceeds go to support the preserve, which is part of the ACRES land trust.

***My time as I crossed the finish line appeared to be 34:40-something, which was even slower than last year. I‘m not sure whether this was because they lengthened the course — one runner with a GPS thought it was about 3.4 miles — or because I went out too fast and then ran out of gas on the hills, or maybe because I‘ve been slacking off in my training lately.

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4 Responses to Waterfall 5K full of surprises

  1. jen says:

    What a pleasing post through and through! Makes me want to figure out running. If I can get all the kids plus the stroller in the car I hope to tag behind the kids and learn more through their kids marathon.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Now that I think of it, Jen, you helped inspire me — back when you were talking about the couch to 5K during Taiko! I never did that program, but I remember feeling motivated by the concept. It would be cool if you wound up getting motivated by your kids…

  2. Chad Ware says:

    Great read. Thanks for plugging the Gator Gallop, and clearing up that one-piece tri suit thing.(not in a million years)

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