Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Happy Run-iversary!

May 23rd, 2017 marked my one-year running anniversary or "run-iversary." Yes, that's a thing. Don't judge me. May 23rd, 2016 was the day I ran my first race, The Fit2Fight 5K. If you've been following my journey, you may recall that I didn't really intend on running after that. I'm not going to rewrite my entire journey here, because you could just read my previous posts. In fact, if you haven't read them yet, you SHOULD read them.

In any case, to mark my run-iversary, I participated in the same race. The 2017 Fit2Fight was held on May 22. I spent the day prepping my body to run that night. I took a hot epsom salt bath, I did yoga, I hydrated, and I foam rolled. I also did those same things before I ran the TC One Mile and I ran my fastest mile time, ever. I figured that using the same routine for the 5K wouldn't hurt anything.

This year, since I'm a "seasoned runner" and not a beginner, I decided I could go by myself. Last year, my family came with to support me, even though it meant that my kids were missing softball practice. This year my kids went to practice. They need it. My neighbors were at the race, because one of them is a volunteer for the fire department that holds the race, and his wife is my running buddy. So, regardless of my family not being there, I wasn't alone. And also, since I've done several races now, I'm okay with going it alone. I've got my big girl pants on.

The race map online was the same route that we were supposed to run last year. I say supposed to because last year there was an issue that caused us to get rerouted, and the race ended up being only three miles as opposed to a full 5K. This year being the second year of the race, I assumed that things would be more organized. That wasn't exactly the case. The disorganization this year started with registration. When I signed up for the race online, there was an issue with the payment software so I wasn't able to pay. I also didn't bring my checkbook or cash with me to the race, and they couldn't take a credit card. Being such a small event, and my neighbor being a firefighter, they trusted me to pay my entrance fee later. My neighbor was supposed to come after me if I didn't. I paid it the next day, in case you're wondering.

The next issue was that the online registration software apparently had some problems and any runners who had previously registered online had to register again once we arrived at the race venue. What a hassle.

When the time came, the runners were ushered to the start. The national anthem was played this year. I'm not sure that I remember that happening last year. A few race rules were explained, and we were off with the sound of an air horn.

Once we got to the point where we were supposed to turn (according to the map), we did not. There were traffic cones on the road to indicate the route and those cones indicated that runners were to continue going forward. I suppose that I could have turned, but I would have led the runners behind me astray. I thought it was important to follow the people in front of me, so I did.

Speaking of the people in front of me, I was very surprised to find that there were not actually THAT many people in front of me. I was flying! I wasn't quite sure of my pace, since I started my GPS app early, but I knew I was doing well. Perhaps what was more surprising was how well I felt. For the speed that I was going, I probably should've been gasping for air. I wasn't. My pace felt really natural and that was exhilarating.

Somewhere after the water station and between miles two and three, there was a bit of course confusion. Runners were following a paved path next to the road. The path split, going straight or left. I could see the runners in front of me had turned left. So, why the confusion? The confusion came from a lone traffic cone that was on the path that went straight. Were runners supposed to go to that cone and turn around? The runners in front of me had not done that. And with no volunteers to give runners instructions, I had to just go with what the runners in front of me did. Perhaps next year there will be either arrows or volunteers to direct runners. Or, better yet, there could be arrows AND volunteers and the route could actually match the map that was on the website!

When I flew into the finish, the clock said 27:42. WHAT?! Then I looked at my GPS and learned that the race wasn't a full 5K. Damn. In fact, I came up with slightly under three miles. Maybe runners WERE supposed to loop that lone traffic cone. Still, I did not expect to finish in under 30:00, so my time came as a bit of a shock.

There were medals for top three male and top three female finishers. I never expected to be in the top three, and I wasn't. But, as far as I could tell, I was possibly the fifth female finisher. I'm really quite proud of that. Last year, runners were emailed official results along with a few stats about how many runners there were etc. This year, even three weeks later, I still haven't seen such a list. I think that perhaps the way the finish line was set up this year prevented those in charge from knowing an official time for anyone. Bummer. At least I know my approximate finish time, and I know I ran better than I did last year.

My plan at this point is to run this race every year that they hold it. Perhaps one year they will add chip time. Next year will be the third year of the race, and I hope that third time is a charm given all of the issues they had this year. And maybe, just maybe, third time will be a charm for me, and I will place in the top three. Given how well I ran this year, I think that is a definite possibility.

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