Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Race Day Recap

I am still totally psyched about my 5K running success this weekend. How incredible is that feeling of knowing that you did your best, accomplished something worth doing, did something good for your body, and enjoyed it all at the same time? Not much beats that in my book.

This 5K was a smaller field than my first race. There were only about 40 runners, and perhaps about half of those were truly in it to run hard. There were quite a few strollers and dog walkers, so it was more of a fun run than a competition. That made me feel better, though, since I just always assume that because I'm new to racing, I will be lolly gagging at the back of the field.

Not this time, though! I'm no Olympic athlete, but I can't describe how proud I am of the way I pushed myself in this race. I ran the course in 25:56, which is about 45 seconds faster than my first 5K race time. That brings my pace to 8:21 per mile, which is right what I would both want to and hope to run at, if that makes sense. It's faster than my long run miles by quite a bit, and a good time to build off of for the future.

Also, I finished eleventh overall, and I was the first place female! At the race's halfway point turn-around, I realized that I wasn't passing any more women running back -- I was the first one! The thought that not only could I run a 5K well, but also run it to win it for my gender group gave me a huge buzz and the drive to push myself even harder back to the finish line. That pushing wasn't easy, of course -- I felt like I was going to vomit for about the last quarter of the race. I didn't get sick, perhaps largely because I didn't want to stop to do so. I wanted to defend my position, and also get as good of a time as possible. There was no time for puking!

Not only was the race laid back, super fun, and a big success for me personally and athletically, it was an amazingly gorgeous day. The weather was warm, and both I and the spectating/photographing Best Husband Ever (all the race photos are his work!) got a little crispy from the sun. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law also turned out in support, which both heartened me and made me a little nervous/eager to do well. Incidentally, this sister-in-law won this same 5K last year (I think) for her age group as well. I guess it's a family tradition now!

It's still hard for me to fathom how I -- traditionally an avowed enemy of running -- has become not only a regular runner, but a racer! I'm not complaining, though. It's been extremely fun, and I'm looking forward with nervous anticipation to my next race and next first -- this coming Saturday's 10K race, and my first race of that kind!

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King