It's race season again!
Though I should probably say "race" season, because let's face it, I may be running races but I'm not doing any actual racing this year for obvious reasons.
This past weekend I had the privilege of running for an awesome cause.
Though the city I live in isn't exactly a small town anymore (30-something thousand people now? maybe closer to 40,000?), there is very much a small town feel here. Very much a sense of community, where neighbors know each other and a number of people who work in our schools also live in our community...for the most part it is really a fairly close knit area out here.
On January 30th, one of the officers that worked for our local Sheriff's office was killed on the job. He had stopped to check on a car pulled over to the side of the highway to see if it was an abandoned vehicle or someone who may have needed help. He was shot twice without warning while he was still sitting in his car.
I didn't know Sgt. Wride personally, but have always been grateful for the fabulous officers that serve our community. Whether it was working with them in helping with local events, talking to them about neighborhood concerns, or just having them wave each time I'm out running, they are a very welcome presence in our community and we are incredibly grateful for their service here.
A 5k was put together to celebrate the life of Sgt Wride and as a fundraiser for his family, a small way for our community to thank them for their sacrifice and service.
I wasn't sure what to expect as far as race size, as when I had registered just a couple of weeks ago there weren't even 100 people registered. The turnout was amazing, with approximately 700 people there.
While I often get emotional during our national anthem, the pre-race ceremony and color guard were particularly humbling and emotional. There weren't many dry eyes left after the national anthem and hearing from Sgt Wride's wife, seeing the dozens of officers there, and the many people lining the course.
As to the race itself...
It was a morning that was colder than we've had for the past couple of weeks, wind chill from the nearly 40mph winds pushing the temp down to mid 20s, but people seemed to mostly deal well with waiting an extra 40min at the start while waiting for three busloads more than were expected to arrive at the start. (Although I was glad I didn't have kids with me, as there were a ton of frozen and crying little ones trying to keep warm.)
Aaron and I were both running, though the cold really started to get to him after standing around for over an hour, so he headed off to run the course on his own before the official start. (we have great paved paths out here, so he just ran along that since the road wasn't patrolled yet) I forget how easily he gets cold with the bald head! It was a good thing he went ahead though, it took him nearly an hour after he finished to start getting feeling back in his hands and feet again, as it was a much colder morning than anyone expected it to be.
The course was almost the same as my favorite local 5k, so I was excited to run it, and hopefully snag a relatively quick finish time. It started a little bit back from the start of the other 5k that runs along here, which unfortunately put the first 1/4 mile uphill. That was not something I anticipated. Between that and my legs being frozen, I had a slow and stiff start, and didn't really feel like I found my groove until the very end.
I was able to maintain a decent pace, but could tell it wasn't going to be as quick as I hoped. It was also very obvious that my body has made a shift from a month ago when I last "raced", and that things are going to just slow down from here on out.
Then my shoe came untied at about 2 1/2 miles. Which was ironic because a friend and I had discussed shoe tying at the start line and I mentioned that I had only ever had my shoe come untied twice, both times in a race. Go figure.
After having to stop and tie my shoe, apparently I was irritated enough to kick into high gear, as I found a little speed left in my legs after that. The course was a little long at almost 3.3 miles (darn uphill start!), but my pace after mile 3 was a 7:08 pace! Nice to know I can still negative split and have a finish line kick.
Aaron had made it to the finish before the actual race even started, thankfully it was a few degrees warmer on that side of the valley than on the start side. Despite the fact that his fingers were frozen he was still able to snag a couple of pics of me coming in, which was fun. He happened to get one that is one of my favorite running pictures ever, which is even more fun. My running pictures always seem to be snapped at just the wrong time, making it look like I'm fake running or out for a slow jog or something. I never end up with those pics that make it look like you're floating.
But now I have one.
Finish time by my watch was 26:47, 8:15 pace for the (slightly long) course. Official finish times/places still haven't been published, but if I counted correctly I should have been about 10th female. Though I'm totally good with that finish time, it is hard to be slowing down. Considering that just a couple of months ago I logged a 5k over 4 1/2 minutes faster than that, the ego does take a hit. Which feels odd to say because a few years ago I would have been thrilled to be able to run that pace at all. Perspective is an interesting thing.
The race itself was good, but above everything else, this race made me very grateful to live where I do. What a blessing to be surrounded by so many wonderful people who really care about the community and about those who serve us so selflessly! One of those days where your faith in humanity is bolstered and you are grateful to be even a tiny part of something good.
For a peek at the day, you can go here: http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_10130.shtml