The Crim is always the toughest race of the year.
Two things keep me coming back to the 10-mile race in Flint, Michigan: The incredible community support and racing with my friends.
Despite the heat and humidity that almost inevitably have me thinking about quitting before the halfway mark, I’ve found a way to push through for seven years now.
This year, I headed into the race with less fitness than I would have liked and with nagging high hamstring tendinopathy. Luckily for me, icing, anti-inflammatories, foam rolling and KT tape have helped immeasurably.
Before the race, I met up with my friend Sarah, as is our tradition. I also met up with my Oiselle Volee teammates for a photo, which was fun.
The energy of the Crim always amazes me. Flint is a town that’s in need of a lot of love, and yet the love the residents give out for the race is truly special. With the Crim, I never feel like 10,000 runners are unwelcome. Community groups, school groups and residents sit on their front lawns and porches to cheer. There are bands, cheerleaders and university students giving out beer. Even the police officers look like they are having fun. They cheer on the runners and give high fives.
It’s good for us to turn out and show love for Flint; the Crim is a celebration of all the best aspects of Flint–it’s pride, community and history.
Although I felt like absolute shit by mile 3, even wondering if I was going to pass out, I’m proud of the way I pushed on. I ran my goal pace, about 8-minute miles, for the first five until we hit the Bradley hills. A lingering sinus infection made the hills difficult, and I had to slow down. The next several miles were horrible; with the humidity, I couldn’t cool off even though it hasn’t been as hot as past years. I dumped several cups of water over my head, which I don’t usually do. In the final two miles, I felt better and pushed through as best as I could to the bricks. As horrible as I felt for most of the race, it went by more quickly than it ever has.
At the end, I drank two bottles of chocolate milk and had a popsicle. The Crim is famous for its popsicles. Then I popped into the first aid tent for a bag of ice for my hamstring.
About my hamstring – I didn’t feel it until mile 7, and it barely hurt during the race or after, and even the day after. The KT tape and ice helped a ton.
After the race, I caught up with my friend Jake, who has been on an awesome health kick and ran his first Crim.
Overall, a great day. I got in a solid 10 miles, which I think will help my fitness as I get into the key weeks of marathon training, and I don’t think I did any damage to my tender hamstring.
It’s time to get to work and keep up on my hamstring rehab so I can be as fit as possible for Oct. 30.