My fur-st (get it furry fur-st) 5K race of 2013 was so much fun! There were so many dogs, and I was able to visit with almost all of them.
On Friday, we had some nasty freezing rain and ice, which made me question whether I would be able to bring Jasper to the race. On Saturday morning I made the decision to not bring him with me because it was still icy at my house and he doesn’t like water and won’t go through puddles, so I was worried it may have been slow going or we would have gotten in other people’s way. So I went alone, and promised him I would check it out so I could bring him next year. As it turned out, it wasn’t icy at all in the park, but it was very wet/sloppy so I think it was a good decision to not take him.
The race was a riot. I was befriended by a man with a beautiful golden retriever named Nala, whom did not belong to the man she was with. He admitted he felt guilty going to the race without a dog so he borrowed the dog from a friend. We talked for awhile, and it wasn’t until right before the race started that I realized the man was hitting on me. I’m a pretty friendly person who can talk to anybody, so it wasn’t until he started telling me some pretty personal things about himself that I realized… I can only imagine the look on my face. Lesson learned. I was wearing gloves, so he didn’t know I was wearing a ring, and I realized after the fact that he had brought the dog as a chick magnet. And I fell right into his trap. Fortunately he ran much faster than me, so problem solved.
Once I let all the crazy dogs go ahead of me, it was easy to fall into my regular rythym. In the past, I’ve had a problem with starting out too fast, but this time I didn’t. I think working out only on the treadmill this winter has helped me build a consistent speed. When I felt like I might be going too fast, I just slowed my running pace. I really enjoyed the experience--watching the dogs, laughing. I saw a man in a wheelchair being pulled by two husky dogs—so inspirational! I saw a girl—maybe about 11 years old—carrying a small dog—no matter the weight of the dog, not easy to do. And I kept running. Just past mile one I realized there was a person just behind me pretty close; I realized she was using me as her pacer. That motivated me to keep going.
Just past mile two I realized my legs felt really strong, but it my thoughts were struggling. For me, running has always been 99% mental. If I can break through those thoughts that tell me it’s time to take a walk break, even though I don’t need to, I will finally run the whole race. This race I knew I could do it. I tried to look at my watch to see my pace, and I hit the wrong button. Oh no! I need that pace to tell me I’m not going too fast, and I hit a button and couldn’t get the pace back. So I had to walk to try to get it back. Darn my gadget girl instincts! And worse yet, I couldn’t get it back anyway! In hindsight, I should have just let it go. When I took that short walk break, the girl who had been behind me took the lead. So I ran to catch up and let her pace me to the finish line. As I rounded the corner to the finish, I saw the finish timer of 35:something and I my lungs said “forget us, just let the legs sprint,” and sprint they did to a finish time of 36:14. After the race, the girl behind me thanked me for running the whole race because I was the same pace as her. Well, I didn't really run the whole race...
But I am still kicking myself for that short walk break wondering what my finish time might have been if I hadn’t walked…I really believe I could have done it if my brain would have let me.
My next race is April 27—maybe I’ll find out.