The Polka Trilogy

Polka BratJason and I headed out of Springfield around 6:30 for the Polka Pace Race.  It is a small town 5k in Havana, IL.

The fog was terrible, almost complete white out conditions.  We took it pretty easy on the way over.  I was surprised to see so many cars out that early.  I think we got stuck behind everyone boat and trail we could find.

We made it with plenty of time to spare.  We picked up our packets and drove the Jeep over towards the finish line to park.  We got a great spot on the street. Just a few cars down from the finish line.

We got a good mile warm up in before the race.  I needed every stride I could take because I haven’t run for two days…

I lined up at the start behind Joel Johnson, and Aaron Sarff.  My plan was to go out easy, but that may have changed with the starter yelled “Go!”  I attempted to stay on Joel’s heals, but on the downhill towards the river, he totally dropped me.  I was flying, but couldn’t keep up.  So on to plan B. (I don’t think I had one…)

Beer @ the PolkaI went through the first mile marker around 6:10 or so.  Now if I could only keep that up for the worst mile of the race, number 2. 

I always seem to fall apart in mile 2.  I am not sure if it is because I went out too fast, or my body is just starting to feel the pain.

So mile 2 turn out like usual.  I ended up slowing down.  A group of guys passed me.  Nile Robinson, from Springfield was one of them.  He is a pretty good runner and I usually find my self around him in most of the races. 

I tried to stay with the group.   And for the first time in the race, I turned an looked back.  Who was on my shoes?  None other than Jason!

I followed them around the last turn and that was were I lost them.  Niles took off like lightning.  I couldn’t keep the pace.  The final stretch is straight and you can see the balloon arch finish line from a mile away.  You never want to go too early because the distance is very deceiving.

I found my self at the finish sprinting against a 6 foot tall, high school freshman.  He beat me.

Polka seating compacityI crossed the finish line in 19:50 (or something) meeting my goal of a sub 20:00.  Right behind me was Lance Cull, who was looking to finish under 21:00.  He broke 20:00. (Way to go Lance!) Jason also followed just a few seconds over.

This race is always so fast, everyone seems to be PR.  With the temperature around 60 degrees, the conditions were ideal.

Immediately after the race, I found myself enjoying a cold one.  Beer is the real reason for coming to this race every year.  Jason and I put together a great podcast episode while listening to the lengthy awards ceremony. 

Here is the icing on the cake…  I was not even expecting an award, nor was I really paying attention.  I did my sub 20 and was drinking cold beer.  What more could I ask for???  They called my name for 1st place in the 35-39 age group.  (I have got to thank Eric Sommer, and Matt Minder for not showing up!)

I completed the Polka Trilogy. I have done this race 3 year now. The first year, I got 3rd in my age group. The second year, I got 2nd in my age group. And now a 1st! 

Polka Trilogy


I guess next year my expectations won’t have to be as high.  I think a 4th or 5th place trophey would look pretty nice.  [Polka Pace Race Results]

(Polka Podcast coming soon!)