Tag Archive | 5K

The Facts About The 5K I Won

See that?  It’s a trophy.  I Instagrammed it– Valencia filter– because I care.

A champion's trophy.

A champion’s trophy.

 

I care because it’s my trophy.  I won it.  And I won it by running my middle-aged bee-hind off in a 5K race.  I was the first woman to cross the finish line.  Because most of my readers are American, they’ll want to know my time.  We care about that stuff– we want hard numbers, figures, metrics, facts, the exact location of that downed airliner.  I get it.  It hardly counts if I can’t produce the numbers, right?

Fine.

I ran the race in 26:08:47 minutes.  And because your calculator is hidden in some annoying place on your phone, I’ll do the quick math for you– my pace was 8:44 per mile.

I should probably stop here.  Press “publish” and let the glory stand for itself.  No doubt I’ve already gone too far.  I’m bungee-jumping and I just passed the first look-out point.  I’m still hurtling downward, waiting for that safety rope to catch and pull me up with a jerk of my neck.  It hasn’t yet.

So more:

I’ve never won a race in my life.  In second grade field day I almost beat Melissa Zimmel in the 50-yard dash, but she elbowed me viciously at 35 yards, and I went home empty-handed, while she had a third-place ribbon pinned to her stupid pink Izod shirt. Bitch.  Two weeks later she tried to cheat by copying my spelling test.  I laughed inside when she spelled desks as “deskes” to earn herself a 94, six points below my perfect 100.

The race in question, though, the one that I WON, was a small affair, I admit.  Four dads who seemed to sprint the whole time beat me.  They, like me, ditched their children to worship the gods of speed and endurance.  We let our spouses handle the pesky work of keeping our children off the course and out of traffic.

There were other women in the race, I swear.  That they were either orthodox Jewish women running in long skirts or benevolent do-gooders shepherding a gaggle of earnest Girls-On-The-Run participants (most of whom had never run more than six yards) is none of your business.  There was one teacher huffing it, but I passed her when I sailed over her oxygen tank like a stag escaping a hunter’ rifle in hot pursuit.

Someone had to be the first woman across the line.  Someone had to enlist her husband to custom-build a trophy case to house the golden, stubby statue that I now call my own.  Someone had to pose for victory photos, seek endorsements from local businesses and offer to headline next year’s charity ball.

There are more facts that are still obscured to you, dear readers.  Facts about the weather, the wind’s velocity, the post-race swag, and the course measurement.  It’s possible you deserve those facts and I should serve them up like I did my times.  Maybe I’ve only served you the mashed potatoes, but you richly deserve your roast beef and fresh peas.

But perhaps I’ve said too much already.

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A New Personal Record In A 5K This Morning

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.

"Sunshine, on my shoulder, makes it hard to run into the sun. . . "

“Sunshine, on my shoulder, makes it hard to see when running into the sunlight  . . .”

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.)

Simon, after stealing my granola scone.

Simon, after stealing my granola scone.

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 pigs children 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:
This runner smoked me.

This runner smoked me. (Sorry so fuzzy, I was running.)