Saturday, I completed the second 5k toward my 2011 goal of completing one running event per month!
Thank goodness it was a warm(er) morning here in Minnesota. The race took place on a path that had been plowed, but was still snowy and icy in spots, with the snowmobile trail running next to it. I wasn’t sure how I’d do, but I did have my WinterTrax on my running shoes, in hopes it would give me the needed traction.
There weren’t very many participants, with only 50 pre-registered. Let me tell you, it was a FAST group! Thankfully, I know my limitations and am only competitive with myself when it comes to running. I think it says it all when I say the first few people were making their way back before I’d made it to the half way point, which is somewhat discouraging when the trail is straight and flat with a turn-around half way. It’s hard to watch the fast people zoom past you! Courses that loop so you can’t see those speed demons kick your butt are much easier to handle.
Anyway, I heard someone say “Eighteen minutes” when I hit the turn around and I thought to myself, “if I keep this pace, I will definitely beat my last time.” The last time, or my first 5k, was two weeks ago at a 40:09. Not too shabby for someone who has only been running (sporadically) for a year, if you ask me.
I made it 2/3 of the way when I felt myself starting to run out of steam. I slowed to a walk for about 10 steps, ran for a while, walked 10 steps, ran for a while, walked 15 steps and then ran the rest of the way. Had I brought my iPod with, I may have been able to focus on something else, but since I knew the course was flat, I thought I’d give it a try on my own.
Once I could see the family of three standing to the side of the path, cheering people on, I felt like I couldn’t let them down. I picked up the pace again and held it through the finish line. I mean, really, who could walk past the adorable little girl in her pink snowsuit, waving and smiling at you? She needs role models in her life, or so I told myself.
My time? 37:08. Yep, 3:01 faster than two weeks ago. I just wanted to finish in under 40 minutes, so I surpassed even my goals and expectations! I’m proud of myself, but to be honest, nothing can compare to the feeling of crossing the finish line on my first 5k because I didn’t know if I could do it. Now I know I can do it and it’s just a matter of how fast I can do it.
The best thing about this race, though, was how friendly and encouraging the other runners were. Even those passing me on their way back threw out encouraging words and high fives.
Just after the turn-around point, two middle school-aged girls were cheering participants on. One of the girls, a stocky, bubbly girl said, “You’re doing great! You’re more than half way!” I said, “I’m getting there.” Her response? “I couldn’t do it.”
Her comment almost stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to go back to her and say, “But, yes you can!” I wanted to tell her about how I was never a runner and turned myself into one. It almost broke my heart that by her voice I could tell she really thought she couldn’t do it. Hopefully, someday she’ll realize that she can do it if she really wants to.
As for me, I’ve already signed up for all of my running events through July! Once the registration opens for those beyond July, I’ll be signing up. Happy running!