On Valentine's Day I participated in the Run with the Wind 25K in Carthage, MO. This was my second year to run this race and first year to run from Carthage. This race is unique in that they select the race starting point a few days before the race in order to provide the most tailwind!
The race runs on country roads between two towns outside of Joplin, MO...Carthage and Sarcoxie. The high school in each town serves as the host for the race with open doors meaning real bathrooms! A pre-race luxury compared to the typical pre-race porta potties.
We arrived in Sarcoxie for packet pickup around 7:45 which left plenty of time to catch a shuttle before the 9am start in Carthage. The race offered free shuttle to the start so that you could leave your car at the finish. We were on the last shuttle to the start and when we arrived I was surprised to see such a full house at the Carthage High School. It was packed with over 200 runners.
Just a short while later we were heading out to the start line. We set off just after 9am under bright and sunny skies. I quickly realized I was overdressed for the weather. The sun really warmed me up and I had to roll my sleeves up. My friends and I wished each other well on our races and split up.
My goal for the race was to finish. I had been fighting a chest cold all week and wanted to avoid any coughing fits. I knew I needed to go slow and keep my heart rate down. I quickly rediscovered that this race was hilly. Somehow I had blocked the hills from my memory from the year before. It was seriously hilly! None of the hills was too insane there were just frequent hills.
The race is measured for the mileage for the route from Sarcoxie to Carthage. The mileage flags were placed in that order which meant that we were counting down the miles left to run instead of counting up the miles completed.
I made it through mile 10 before I starting feeling fatigued. The temps were warming up and I realized that I was too thirsty. I had a small water bottle with me and I broke it out between the final water stops and started to take multiple cups at those water stops too. I really should have stopped to take off my long sleeve tee but I pushed along. Around mile 11.5 I began to lose my strength against the fatigue and started to take walk breaks. I was listening to my iPod and trying to coordinate my runs and walks to the songs.
The last several miles had a fun feature in that you could see the next mile marker flags off in the distance. It made it tough to see the next mile...so close yet so far away at the same time. I dug deep for the final mile and ran in towards the finish line. The finish line announcer cheered me on after hearing my friends cheering for me. I didn't finish as happy as I wanted...my legs and feet were sore and I was fighting to not break into a coughing fit. I was disappointed in my fitness compared to the race the year before but in the end I finished the distance under difficult circumstances so I have to give myself credit for that.
Run with the Wind is a great small town race. There is a great finisher medal and awesome long sleeve t-shirts this year. The shuttle system that is provided is helpful for those of us from out of town. I also really appreciate the 9am start time for a winter race. It means getting up doesn't have to be quite so early in order to make the hour long drive to the start. Registration was offered initially for a price of around $25. Not bad at all!