Until last weekend. There was a 5K 5 minutes from my house. Now, I did a 5K close to home over the summer, but this was a different place. This was on the river, at the local state park. It truly was beautiful and I would kind of like to run the course and NOT race it so I could appreciate the scenery. Anyway, none of my friends were able to do it because they were all still recovering from that HALF-MARATHON they ran, but I signed up anyway. It was so close to my house, how could I not? I planned on registering the kids for the kids' race but the registration process was a little unclear so I figured I'd wait until race day. I'm glad I did. As it turns out we were too late for the kids's run. Luckily I was the only one really annoyed. The kids didn't seem to care too much. None of their friends were running either.
So, we got there later than I intended, but still with plenty of time for my race. It was COLD. Not like December cold, but just gloomy and overcast and a little windy. I had worn my racing jacket for standing around, but I wound up wearing it the whole race. Sure, there were people in t-shirts and shorts. And yes, I did warm up. But I am seriously a good 20 degrees colder than most humans, so I was okay with that. I picked up my packet, went to the bathroom, came out of the bathroom and saw an older guy staring at me. I thought for sure I had pulled my pants all the way up, so I was confused. I walked in his direction and thought I knew him... and mistakenly thought he must have been a librarian. Luckily he told me who he really was--the father of one of my former library teens. It was really funny because that was the last person I thought he was going to be. Yeah, he beat me.
When I got back to Vader and the kids Vader said he was going to go back to the car to look for gloves for the Princess. We were now 20 minutes away from race time. Just as I was getting seriously nervous because he has that problem with time and you know MOVING QUICKLY WHEN IT'S IMPORTANT TO ME, I saw a familiar person. A life-saver really. The Happy Runner had brought her two kids out in the cold, gloomy, dismal, dreary day, way out of her way, just to watch me race. Just seeing her instantly calmed my nerves because I knew I could leave the kids with her until Vader got back. I didn't have to though since he showed up a minute after.
I lined up, intentionally going towards the back so that I wouldn't start out too fast like I did at the Clove Run. I found myself next to... a librarian! It was nice to make a little small talk. There was also a preschool mom there but I don't know where she was in the beginning. We started out and I had to dodge people and a racing mom with a stroller and sticks and rocks. Yeah. Did I mention this was a trail race? I should have known that, having been to the park a million times, but I was just expecting some paved trail to magically appear. Ah well. So, I ran my first trail race. It was hard, harder than I expected. Dodging the tree roots and mud and rocks and other runners and branches and all sorts of crap was a little exhausting. I kept my pace okay for the first couple of miles (splits according to garmin: 9:28/9:31/9:28). Then we hit sand and I kind of wanted to flail my arms at the sky. But I kept on. When I hit the last quarter mile I wanted to really step it up and I tried. I mean, I did pick up the pace, but after having just come off the sand (with hills too!) my legs were just so tired, so I didn't quite pick it up as much as I had wanted to. Nonetheless I still came in at a faster time than I have before. 29:25 (according to my garmin it was 29:22, but I'm not going to complain about 3 seconds... too much.) That final stretch when I was just about to lose it, I heard a voice. There were lots of people cheering and talking, but I instantly picked out the Happy Runner's voice, and she brought me in. I didn't let go until I crossed the finish line.
There were plenty of faster people there and loads of faster times, but in each of my races I have gotten a PR. Sure, there's only been 4 races, but still, to improve in each race is not bad. And to think that 2 years ago I would have accused you of smoking the buddha if you suggested I would one day run in a race...
I leave you with this picture. Take a gander at the look on my face, people. Priceless. Just priceless:
|I am clearly not amused by the bear-man.|