I love racing. It makes me nervous and I breathe real hard and get all sweaty and sometimes a cramp will make me feel like someone is stabbing me in the side of my stomach, but I also get to eat a lot, and, in the case of this morning’s race, set a new PR!
Elwood Endowment Education 5K
Chip time: 25:26
The Elwood Education Endowment 5K began and ended at Elwood Middle School and, since its aim is to raise money for the school district, a lot of students and teachers ran it. I knew none of them. In fact, I knew nobody at all. It was a small field – just 295 runners – and I’m happy to say that I won my very first 1st place age group medal!
TECHNICALLY, one woman in my age group beat me: the overall female winner. But overall winners don’t get age group medals, so I was happy to be second in line in the female 40-44 category to officially snatch up age group 1st. With 22 women in my group, it’s not bad considering that a few years ago I was barely running and 25 pounds heavier. I’ll take it. GIVE IT TO ME.
And even better than the medal: I set a PR of 25:26.
My last 5K race was in mid-July, finishing in 26:39. I knew this one would be faster while running it. First, I’ve just been running more. I’ve done a 4-mile race and the Cow Harbor 10K since then. I’ve done a bit more speed work.
Both 5K courses were relatively flat (this one was described as having “rolling hills,” which made me laugh when I saw the course, as there were only a couple small dips and inclines – I think running through hilly Northport has spoiled me) but in today’s race, I could FEEL myself faster than last time. I wonder if the hills even helped.
Something else I think helped: I wound up running in a small group of guys: Red Shirt Dude, Blue Shirt Dude, and Gray Shirt Dude. We were all going about the same pace, with Red Shirt Dude a little ahead of me the whole time until the end when I managed to surge ahead. After the race, Gray Shirt Dude told me he had been behind me most of the way and congratulated me on my pace, and I thanked Red Shirt Dude for keeping me going, while he acknowledged that a small hill got to him at the end. I kind of love that I was in a little group of Dudes.
It reminds me of the 600-yard dash races we used to run in 5th and 6th grade – I’d usually be the 1st or 2nd girl finisher, but what I really loved was running alongside the fastest boys. I would always be slightly behind them and I never won. But I loved it anyway because for a few minutes, I felt like an equal. Like girls could do anything. Like I could do anything. It’s something my mom instilled in me from a young age. I’ll write more about that some other time. One thing at a time, folks!
Afterwards, I got to experience one of my favorite parts of a race: FREE FOOD!!! I ate… quite a bit.
Even though exactly nobody from the race will read this blog post, thank you to all the volunteers and staff! You guys all rock and I had a blast. Thank you!
Onto the next!