Last Saturday I took part in my annual 5K run. I take part in this race because it is sponsored by our local hospital, offers an awesome health fair, and, the best reason, is a free event!
This was my third year of taking part in this event. The first year I walked the course and last year I ran the course. I finished the race with a time of 25:05. I was determined to beat that time and trained hard leading up to the event. I was also excited because I would finally be meeting one of my dearest SparkFriends, AWEISE. We were to meet up at last year’s event but, due to poor planning, were unable to do so. This year we formulated a better plan.
Upon arrival at the location I noticed a large crowd and wondered if I had perhaps gotten too late of a start that morning. Then I remembered that since I pre-registered for the event I was able to bypass the registration line and proceed immediately to the pre-registration line and pick-up my bib and tracking device. There’s a lesson to be learned here, ALWAYS pre-register for an event, it saves a lot of time! Anyhow I pinned on my bib, secured my tracking device to my running shoes and waited for AWEISE. I did not have to wait long as she arrived right at the time she promised. AWEISE is an awesome lady. I felt so comfortable speaking with her, almost like we were long-time friends. We chatted about last year’s event, about our cell phone plans (I know, weird subject!), and our respective spouses. My camera took an awkward picture by itself (argh, if I could ever learn how to properly use my camera phone I would be dangerous!) of AWEISE.
BTW, she has been recently re-thinking her health goals and needs our support, so, if you have an opportunity stop by her page and leave her a supportive comment! Anyhow, she moved on to check out the health fair while I waited for a second friend.
As the start time neared I entered the running corral, got my iTouch ready to go, and enjoyed the few minutes before the start of the race.
This year the start was handled more professionally as the runners were separated from the walkers. Last year the start of the race proved to be an obstacle course as I had to navigate around walkers and strollers. Separating the two types of participants would allow the runners to get a quick start without having to worry about bumping into a slower participant.
As the race started I started off at a good steady pace, navigating around slower runners and finding a “lane” that I could use to run with little or no impediments. I paid little attention to the other participants rather I concentrated on finding a good pace and keeping my eyes ahead of me so as not to trip over something or run through water. As I hit the downward slope portion of the course I tried to keep my pace steady. I passed the Mile 1 marker feeling very strong so I decided to increase my pace. As I approached the water station I decided to skip it as I had drank a couple of bottles of water before the race. I passed the Mile 2 marker still feeling strong but keeping in mind that the upward slope would be rearing its ugly head shortly. As I approached the start of the hill I pushed myself to keep the same pace, keeping in mind that I just needed to put one foot in front of the other. As I passed the Mile 3 marker I was elated that I still felt strong. Turning the corner and headed down the home stretch I kicked it up another gear and sprinted to the finish line! I forgot to look at the race clock as I passed it but my unofficial time was 23:46! I stopped at the race tracker station to turn in my tracker and waited for results to be posted. A few minutes later they were posted and I officially finished in 112th place with a race time of 23:48!
That, my friends, averages to a sub 8 minute mile. (Ok, ok, I am tooting my own horn but I worked hard for that time!)
Anyhow, as I waited at the finish line for AWEISE to cross it, I was struck by the outpouring of support by bystanders as their friends/family members approached and crossed the finish line. I was particularly overcome with emotion by a mother’s reaction (apparently she had run the race, too, having finished before) as her ten year old son crossed the finish line with a gusto that put me to shame! Moments later she was enthusiastically cheering her eight year old daughter as she approached the finish line with the same gusto as her brother. The smile on her face was simply priceless. As she crossed the finish line she ran into her mother’s arms! OMG, that was beautiful! I’m sorry I am sucker for family moments like these, simply AWESOME!
I saw AWEISE cross the finish line and captured the moment with an extremely short video. (Again, user-error resulted in a poor video, sorry!)
As I was fumbling with my phone I lost track of AWEISE and attempted to find her in the large crowd but was unable to do so.
I can’t wait until next year’s event. Until then I am going to work on my phone camera skills!