The official results haven’t been posted yet, but I made a personal record in the 5-K this weekend.
The event was called Dream Mile 2011 for an organization called Vibha, which raises funds for underprivileged children in the U.S. and India. Early Saturday morning at White Rock Lake I milled around with several others, waiting for the races to start. At 7:30 the 10-K runners took off, and fifteen minutes later those of us running the 5-K lined up at the starting line. My goals for this race were to A) finish the darn thing, and B) beat my last official time of 32:50.
I found myself near the front of the group, and I’ll admit I was pressured to keep up with the fast runners. One young man looked like he had bones of fiberglass. He immediately took off like a gazelle. But for old me, I quickly determined before the half-mile mark that I was going to quickly run out of gas, so I slowed my pace to what felt like a crawl. Of course, this resulted in my getting passed right and left by others, and I hate getting passed. Particularly by old ladies.
Anyway, I was feeling pretty good until about mile two-and-a-half, when my body tried to negotiate with me, telling me that if I would just stop and collapse on the side of the path that everything would be all better and we could go out for ice cream and chocolate…wouldn’t that be great? But no, I kept repeating my mantra, “I can do this I can do this,” and my body grumbled to itself, not happy but at least silent.
Finally I saw the finish line and poured it on a bit, not a full out sprint, but definitely an improvement, perhaps as fast as when I started. When I crossed the finish line I had accomplished goal A. But what about my time? Had I broken 32 minutes? Perhaps even 31?
I walked for a little bit, maybe ten seconds or so, before I remembered my own timer on my waistline. I took a look . . . wiped the sweat out of my eyes, because surely I was mis-reading it. What did that timer say?
I broke 32 minutes? I broke thirty minutes? And if my estimate between crossing the finish line and checking my time was accurate, there’s a real chance I broke twenty-nine minutes!
It’s a funny thing. During the last half mile, I was telling myself that this running thing is nuts, that I’m too old to be doing this, that there’s no good reason I need to intentionally make myself feel this way. For what, a T-shirt? Pfah!
But half an hour later, during the drive home, I found myself wondering when the next race will be. And maybe this time I bust the twenty-eight minute mark…