One evening during a meeting, I received a phone call. I recognized the number as coming from the family that I grew up next door to. My first thought was that something horrible had happened. Instead, I was asked if I wanted to run a 5K–in two weeks. A business had purchased bibs and had two that were unclaimed. My daughter and I could have them for free if we wanted. No runner is going to turn that offer down!
April 22 was my second 5K for April, and one that was not planned. The money for this 5K went to support a local Christian school. This school is attached to a church that many, many years ago my two older kids took co op classes at. So, I was familiar with the church and school and felt like it was a worthwhile cause.
At packet pick up we got some cool swag. Lots of local coupons including $5 off at a local grocery store. We also got red t-shirts and glittery headbands that aren’t supposed to slide on your head.
The race itself was at a local park with a trail. We were somewhat familiar with the park but not the trail in particular. We had to drive by it to get to packet pick up, so we took a drive through the park and looked over the trail the best we could. Upon leaving we noticed a big hill with a monstrous grade. The only question was, were we going to be running up it or down it tomorrow?
The forecast for the race was 45 degrees and a light rain. The only race I’ve had to run in the rain was warm enough that it wasn’t cold. I didn’t know how I would handle this one. I’ve been told by veteran runners that the secret is to stay dry. How to do that, I wasn’t sure.
As Friday progressed, I kept checking the weather forecast for Saturday morning at race time. The temperature kept going up and the chance of rain kept going down. By the time I went to bed, the forecast was 53 degrees, windy and cloudy, but no rain. I was thankful and dressed for the forecasted weather.
Saturday morning arrived and it was 53 degrees, very windy, and the sun was shining. I was thankful not to be running in the rain, but I was also a bit overdressed since I was expecting it to be cloudy.
The race course was interesting. We were told that last year the course was a bit short, so we had a little out and back we had to do before running on the paved trail. We had to do two laps around the trail. It didn’t take long to realize that we had to go up that gnarly hill twice!
Other than the hill, it was a nice course. I mostly ran up the hill the first time around and did more walking up the hill the second time around. I knew it wasn’t worth it to wear myself out running up this hill.
I crossed the finish line huffing and puffing. Then, when I saw my time I was very disappointed. It was the worst I had done in a very long time. Once I caught up with my daughter (literally), she told me that she was also disappointed with her time. We blamed the wind, we blamed the hill, we blamed everything except ourselves! Then, I looked at the stats on my Fitbit. We had actually run 3.3 miles–nearly a quarter of a mile further.
I’ve been telling people that I’d get first place as soon as I found a race small enough. As far as participants go, this was probably the smallest race I’ve ever run. In fact, it was small enough that I was probably the only runner in my age group. Which, of course, put me in first place! Yah, check out that white ribbon around my neck that says “1st Place.”