Novi Super 5K: Goal-Shattering at its Finest

By: Scott McMahon

So I was not able to achieve my goal of running a race in 12 consecutive months. My ankle sprain after Thanksgiving kept me from running almost at all in December, and admittedly, I got lazy in January. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my February race: the Super 5K in Novi on Feb. 3. However, I was still out of shape, and didn’t have the motivation I needed to train in the weeks leading up to the race.

That’s where my buddy Dru stepped in. We had gone on a few runs together over the summer, but he never really seemed to care for it. He would run for around a half-mile, and stop to do push-ups, sit-ups, etc. before repeating. Still good exercise, but he was more focused on the strength aspect.

So you can imagine my surprise when I got a text from Dru in early January saying “Just ran a 5K.” And another a couple weeks later after a five-mile run.

I have to admit–I was jealous. When I began running, I always wanted to keep going and push myself to my limits. But a nagging hip injury and some gained weight had taken away some of that enthusiasm. Seeing Dru push himself and have fun doing it gave me the boost I needed. I started opting for the indoor track rather than the stationary bike, and was soon back to my regular running pace for a 5K.

Dru and I went on a couple of runs together at the end of January, which was when the topic of races came up. Dru had never entered a running event before, but decided somewhere between miles two and three of our four-mile run that he would enter the Super 5K with me for the coming weekend.

Fast-forward to Feb. 3–Super Bowl Sunday–and the Super 5K in Novi. The temperatures hovered around the freezing mark, but no precipitation was expected and winds were calm. We got our bibs and headed back to my car to sit in the heat until the race started. With about ten minutes until the race began, we made our way to the starting line, got loose, and waited. As I had been asked before my first race, I asked Dru if he had any goals for the race.

“Finish.”

After thinking about it more, he said that 35 minutes would be good for him, and that he would try to keep up with me but likely fall behind. I thought that was strange, considering we had run four miles just a few days earlier in around 35 minutes, but you can never predict what weather and nerves will do.

The course began at the Novi Civic Center and winded its way through a nearby subdivision. As with any course, there were some minor hills, and aside from a larger ascent at the 2.5-mile mark, nothing really gave me any trouble. We were treated to a slight downhill for the final half-mile of the race, which many runners took advantage of.

True to his word, Dru kept up with me to start. We wove our way through the crowds and reached the 1-mile mark together. The cold was no longe ran issue–we were just focused on the run. But instead of falling behind me, Dru slowly pushed ahead and left me behind. I caught up to him on downhills, but we would reach another small hill and he would move ahead again. We hit the final stretch together, and according to Dru, once he saw the finish line, adrenaline took over and he booked it. He sprinted across the finish line like his life depended on it. I followed shortly thereafter.

We gathered our pint glasses from the race volunteers and headed inside the Civic Center for warmth (after promptly putting the glasses in my car–tired runners + pint glasses = lots of broken glass).

When we had time to think about the race, we realized that not only did Dru keep up with me, his sprint at the end helped him finish a few seconds before me. He had accomplished his goal of finishing the race, and at 26:30, had shattered his initial goal of 35 minutes.

Overall, we both enjoyed the entire event. There was plenty of parking on-site, the course wasn’t too bad, the pint glass was a nice bonus, and the post-race food was fantastic. But most of all, we both accomplished our own goals–Dru finished his first race, and I was able to get myself back into the habit of running after a long hiatus.

So congratulations, Dru. You deserved this. May this race lead you to a rewarding running career.

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