It's finally here. Whew. Does that mean it won't get over 100 again? Prolly not but we sure are enjoying the cooler mornings at least. Today it was only 61 when I headed to the lake.
Headed to the lake to run the Autumn Equinox 5K. Yes, yes, I have 20 miles on my schedule for today but I decided to sleep in, race then get my 20 milers in later. You can do that when it isn't 4,000 degrees outside you know. Nice change.
Two weeks ago I set a new 5K PR (or PB for those up yonder) of 25:15. A finishing time of 24:## has been burned into my brain since then. So close. Racing 5K and 10K is hard for distance runners, or it certainly is for this distance runner. Everything in our training conditions us to hold up, don't go out fast. Reserve some for the end. But there is no reservation in a 5K, no mileage to make up time. So I steeled myself for the mental and physical battle to come.
Here is what I know about racing. I can't control the weather nor my body. I can check the forecast, I can down Emergen C, I can hydrate like it's my job and I can train as smart as I know how. But on race morning, sometimes I just isn't meant to be. My attitude is all that I have ultimate control over.
I ran this race last year and it was tough. It was stormy and humid and frankly, I was in a very, very bad place mentally and emotionally. Life had beaten me down and I was worse for the wear. And still, I had a great race. It was a turning point for me. Sitting out on those stone tables in the rain, crying over my circumstances, feeling so utterly alone, for the first time I felt like maybe I was stronger than I ever knew.
I thought of that sad, hurting girl this morning as I lined up at the start line. Certainly not where I want to be, in my running or in my life, finally I'm at least on the right track. Moving forward. I'm stronger, things don't hurt as much, most days. Pressing start on my Garmin, I started the process of weaving in and out of the other competitors. I know this course like the back of my hand; this is my turf, the lake.
And I ran hard, on feel, only glancing at my Garmin once. I focused on my breathing and my turnover, never once letting the crap from the past year enter my thoughts. No more room for that now. I just ran. Making the turn at the half way mark, I'd only seen two women in front of me. I picked one off and passed her. (sorry lady) I knew there was no way I could catch the first female and reclaim my prize from last year, but I also knew I had it in me to pass as many people as I could.
Graciously, the male masters winner had jogged back out on the course and was shouting at me and pointing, "Run here girl, it's shorter, run over here." Thankful for the impromptu coaching, I obliged and picked up my kick. Moving forward.
I heard my name, stopped my Garmin and let them tear my bib. (this race isn't chip timed, we were kickin' it old school) 24:01 by my Garmin, 24:11 by the gun. 2nd female and a shiny new PR.
I'll take it.
Waiting for the announcements, I sat on those stone tables once again, marveling at how much things have changed. I could have never imagined any of this a year ago. I was in the middle of the storm then. And here I am, on the other side. Clouds gone, the sun is shining on my future. And I'll do my best to continue moving forward. Philippians 3:14
Lest I get all big headed, here is what my cat thinks of my trophy.