Sometime after the Esprit de She, my neighbor found a Best Friend's 5K virtual race through US Road Running. We liked that we could each get a medal for a pretty low price. So, we signed up for the 5K. The timing of when we received the medals and bibs coincided with our training for our school district's annual race, the Panther Foundation 5K. One evening, a few days before the Panther 5K, we went out and ran the virtual race. It was a PR for me: I actually cut over two minutes off of my official race time from the Esprit de She. Despite it being a virtual race, it was fun because I was running it with my neighbor and friend.
The next thing to tackle was the Panther Foundation 5K. My husband took vacation from work that day in order to attend the event with me and keep an eye on the kids while I ran. The event consisted of a 5K run, a 2K walk, and a carnival. The carnival was a great way to keep the kids busy while I participated in the 5K.
We arrived at the high school track early in order for the kids to enjoy the carnival games before things got too busy. Between the walk from the parking lot to the track and walking around with my family, I got quite a few steps in while I waited for the race to start. My shoes were less than a month old, and I had only ever run in them. So, it was pretty painful to learn that the walking I did before the race was giving me blisters on my heels. NOOOOOOO! It was 10 minutes to race time, and I had a blister on each foot. I grabbed some large bandages that I keep in my youngest son's diaper bag, and I hoped for the best.
The race started and things felt pretty good. My neighbor and I were running faster than I thought we were. By the time my GPS told me my mile split, I was shocked. I thought for sure that I was going to fizzle out before the race ended.
We kept going at a pretty steady pace. She kept wanting to stop, but I told her we could do it without stopping. Honestly, I was afraid that if we stopped that I wouldn't be able to start again, so I just encouraged her to keep going and it helped me to keep moving, too. We ran our hearts out, and when the finish line came into view, we stepped it out a bit.
She ended up with an injury because of stepping it out at the end. I kind of blame myself, and I felt bad that I had pushed her through the finish. But, it really felt good to cross the finish line with her at 30:15. I (we) were so close to breaking that thirty minute mark! I was ridiculously proud of us both. I was in a bit of shock that I had just run a 5K at that pace. It was two minutes off of the pace we ran the Best Friend's 5K virtual race at. It was so empowering!
After the Panther 5K, I decided that I could try to strive for something a little more. I was ready to slowly start pushing myself and see what my limits were. I decided that my next step would be to sign up for the virtual Turtle Runner 5 Miler. I ran it a month after the Panther 5K on a warm October day, and I ran it in under an hour. Considering that I have never run that far in my life, I was pretty psyched about the results. I was doing things I had never thought I would be capable of doing.
The outdoor running season was nearing its end, but my neighbor and I did find one more race to run before November. That story will wait until next time.