Hope for the Children 5K – New Albany, IN (March 10, 2012)
Race: Hope for the Children 5K
Place: Sam Peden Community Park, New Albany, IN
Date: March 10, 2012
It was one of those mornings. I don’t know what it was because normally on race mornings I’m out of bed like a shot and going through my routine of getting dressed, lacing shoes, eating a light breakfast and getting a couple things done before heading out the door. But I was not in the mood to run this morning and it was really showing.
Reluctantly, however, I hauled myself out of bed and checked the weather. Below 32 degrees. I thought about wearing my shorts, then some sense kicked in and I decided on knee socks and my capri running shorts instead. This turned out to be one of the smartest things I’ve done because it was bitter, bitter cold out in the park with nothing really to act as a windbreak. I was cold. No…I was freezing.
My roommate had told me she checked the race time the night before, saying it was 8:00 a.m. So, I set my alarm for the appropriate time to allow me to wake up, get stuff in order, eat, and hydrate properly prior to the race, as well as throw something together for her to eat before we headed out the door. I got up with my alarm, and, as mentioned, very reluctantly got moving. Then, after I logged on line to catch up on some e-mails and the like, I checked the race information again and…I was almost fuming to see that the race started at 9:00 a.m. So, when her alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and she finally staggered out into the living room, I was quite cranky and informed her that the race time was really 9:00, not 8:00 like she said. To which she informed me she didn’t actually find a time online the night before and just assumed. So yeah…I wasn’t a happy camper going into this race.
We arrived for packet pick-up at about 8:30 a.m. This gave me time to not only walk stuff back to the car, but properly stretch out as well. I kept my jacket on for as long as possible because I was shivering and cold. But the announcement soon came for all the runners and walkers to make their way over to the start line…which was a short walk up a path to a line painted across the road. We made the short trek and I saw all the ‘elite’ runners at this race doing their jogging in place, knee lifts, butt kicks, and little sprints to warm up. The organizers came over to kick us off with some course information, like how the roads were not closed to traffic, but there would be a police presence throughout. How our lead vehicle was this guy on a bike with bunny ears. And ran through the course. Then, the National Anthem was beautifully sang and a little prayer was given. I shed my jacket and gloves and shivered near the start with other runners. Then, the starting gun was fired and off we went.
I took off faster than I intended. This has been a trending cycle for me and one I am trying to break, but not being very successful at it. I was in the front group as we headed out of the park and onto the streets. I was behind these two little girls, maybe about 10 years of age, and they sort of kept me moving. I mean, granted, there are plenty of 10-year-olds and younger who run faster than me, but I was just doing my best to keep up. They were barely breaking a sweat. And at mile marker 1, my time of 7:49 was called out and my immediate thought was, “Crap, I went out too fast. I’m booking it.” And I knew, from running these roads before, the hills and inclines were about to hit.
I have made it a goal of mine, with the exception of one race (which was the first one back from a bad foot and knee injury) that I would run every race and not walk. So, despite the hills and my slowing pace, I pushed on, up the inclines, through the neighborhoods, waiting on cars to drive by or perhaps stop to let the runners through first. Mile 2 came about just as we were about to reenter the park for the final leg. The little girls had taken a bit of a lead, but I could still see them. Through the park, around a turn, and onto the little paved track there and I was off into the last mile. This was tough. The hills weren’t as much, but they were there. And I passed one of the girls, who fell off of her running buddy’s pace. The other one was zooming on ahead. One other person passed me, but that was it. I knew as I was running around the little lake in that park that the finish was just another song on my iPod away.
Actually, I could see the yellow and blue flags of the finish area out of the corner of my eye. Just a little more pushing, one more curve around the lake and it was straight on to the finish. I gave it all I had left, which, after not feeling like running and with the cold, wasn’t much. But I pressed on, and when I crossed that finish line, I knew I was so close to what my 5K PR was. I either barely beat it, tied it, or came damn close to it. It was the latter of the three, but I was pretty damn proud of that time, since there were rolling hills, some of which are pretty steep, and for using so much of my energy up at the start of the race, rather than holding it back for the finish. In the end, I crossed the finish line 3 seconds shy of my PR, which was achieved on a flat course, the 36th finisher overall out of 147, and 3rd in my age division.
I was cold. The ladies at the finish wanted us to tear the bottom part of our number off, but I couldn’t feel my fingers at this point, so they helped. I was given my medal for finishing and met with my roommate for a couple of pictures before being graced with my jacket, gloves, and some water. Hydration is always important. We stuck around for the awards, which I love to do even if I don’t place or receive anything, as well as the random raffle for prizes. I walked away empty-handed, but I was okay with that. I had a fantastic race and now I was riding high on that.
This week I have four races ahead of me. One tomorrow, two on Saturday, and an indoor triathlon on Sunday. I’m doing my best not to overdo it, but also keep up with my half marathon training. With all these races I took on, sometimes that can be a task. But I wouldn’t change any of this for the world.