There’s something extra special about a glorious September morning when you manage to get to the starting line before the 5K run begins and then blaze through to a new PR (personal record).
Have I run faster 5Ks before? Yes. So, it’s not a speed PR I broke this morning. (Specifically, on August 11, 2005, I ran my fastest 5K at a pace of 7:55 min/mile.) I wasn’t even close to that this morning. Actually, my “speed” goal for this race was vague– I hoped for something less than 40 minutes to run the 3.1-mile race.
For the record, I was 100% willing to walk the whole way, soaking in the cheers from the sidelines.
My goal for this race was simple: make it to the starting line and enjoy the run. Other aspirations included being inspired by others, thanking the volunteers, and not coming home in an ambulance. Usually, however, when I say I have a sweet, “life is beautiful” goal, I really have a quantitive, numbers-oriented goal tucked away under platitudes about sunshine and bliss.
Not today. I didn’t care about the numbers, even though I was pleasantly surprised by them.
So what’s this PR I broke? This morning’s PR was a maximum number of people I had waiting for me at the end of the race. This is the first time I have finished a run to hugs from my husband and two kids. It felt amazing to have them there at the end– begging for my snacks and grabbing the banana out of my hand. That’s true love, people. I wouldn’t trade that kind of attention for all the speed in the world.
When I think about how I used to run faster and farther, I remind myself that (1) I was younger, and (2) I was very alone. I can’t tell you how many races I did setting PRs only to walk home alone. (By “walk,” I mean ride the train feeling sorry for myself and sobbing to strangers.)
For those of you who prefer bullet points, here’s what I learned running a 5K this morning:
- It’s hard to take pictures while you are running.
- Having beloveds at the end of a race is the greatest feeling in the world.
- Don’t expect to eat your post-race goodies if your hungry little
pigschildren are around.
- Run next to the little kids (12-year-old or younger) because not only are they cute as hell, but also, people cheer their hearts out for them, so soak it up.
- When you are 39 years old and coming back from a butt injury, the miles seem REALLY, REALLY long.
- Don’t forget the basics: use the potty before you start running, hydrate, have a good running mix, and pace yourself.
- Remain open for inspiration, like this: