On Sunday I ran my first repeat race, the Morton Arboretum Fall Color 5K. I looked back and verified that my time from last year was 30:02. My goal for this race was to beat my previous time, but also set a new PR. My previous PR, 26:11, was set back in May of 2012. I thought I had a chance to do better, but I was utterly ecstatic when I realized that I majorly kicked my own ass coming in at 24:42.
This race is super close to my home, so I decided to drive myself instead of being dropped off by my family so I could enjoy some solitary time before the race. There was plenty of on site free parking, but a little walk to the start line was required. I decided I would start with the 8 minute milers, but before taking my place along the starting line I met up with a friend who was running her first 5K since having her 3 boys. I wanted to make sure I told her good luck and snapped a picture of us together before we started the race. We were both cool with running our own races. I love friends who understand me.
I took my place, started my music and was anxioulsy waiting to begin. When the gun went off I pressed start on my Garmin and ran my little heart out, but not before holding back some tears of joy. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to run a race at the arboretum without being overwhelmed with emotion.
For the first half a mile I was weaving in and around people so that I could run at my pace. Once I was in front of the crowd I was able to sail through the remainder of the first mile. However, it was a challenge to get my breathing under control during this time. Then my Garmin buzzed and showed that I had run my first mile in exactly 8 minutes. That was an awesome moment to see that number. I wondered if I could keep it up for the rest of the race.
I was able to get my breathing under control as I got deeper into the second mile. I ran the second mile in 8:17. This still amazes me. At the 2 mile marker I realized that I was running side by side with these two kids who were maybe 10 or 11 years old. I told them they were doing awesome and to keep it up. I decided to quit looking at my watch and let these two kids set the pace. They were sailing along so I just made sure to keep in line with those two little speed demons.
Once I saw the 3 mile marker I pushed myself into a full on sprint. A few yards from the finish line my husband and older daughter notice me. I ran while looking backwards and shouting my youngest daughter’s name so she could see her mommy run. Our eyes finally met so I turned toward the finish line and gave it my all.
I looked back at my splits and found that the last mile when I was inspired by those two youngins I ran in 7:45! Thank you athletic kids who run 5Ks for fun on Sunday mornings. You rock!
This race is awesome and will forever be one of my favorite 5Ks. It was a year ago that I started to gain confidence in myself as a mother and began developing a healthy self image. This year I feel strong and confident and proud of the mother I have become. I am also gaining confidence as runner.
How far have you come as a runner?