And here is the group of runners taking off:
My #1 fans were waiting for me at one of the bends, so I waved to the sound of an encouraging "Go Mama!" as my other favorite fan took my picture:
I was snoozing my way through the awards ceremony when I heard my name being called. Turns out I won third place in my age division!
Here's what I won, up close and personal -- a medal and a plaque!
That was actually the first of three times I went to the podium -- I was the captain of a team (composed of colleagues of mine) and we won awards for the largest team and the best team name (Nerds in Motion). Several of my teammates, including my mean running coach's daughter, got metals as well. The girl got first place in her age division -- a fine encouragement for a first-time racer. And although we didn't win anything for this, we were runners-up to a local fitness center's team for fastest team (the lowest total time for your team's top four participants). Still, I consider us to have swept the awards.
Now for the analysis.
This year I did a personal best time of just under 40 minutes for the 5K. I think I reported that last year I ran it in 41 minutes but either I misremembered or just typed it wrong, because official time records say it was more like 47 minutes. So, I shaved seven minutes off my time. I attribute this to several factors:
- It was a lot cooler yesterday. It may have gotten up to 60 degrees by the end of the race but I'm not sure. This was because there was a big storm rolling in, which finally came in the early afternoon.
- I was familiar with the course. I remembered what it was like from last year.
- I'm a more mature racer. I didn't get overexcited and run too fast at the beginning and wear myself out.
- I was well hydrated. I spent much of Friday drinking as much water as I could stand. I did not refuse the water at the halfway point like last time. I was sweating less because it was cooler. I did not worry about the fact that my bladder was leaking and just accepted the existence of a full pantyliner as collateral damage. And I did not get a post-race migraine as a result.
- I am in better shape. Thanks to just running regularly for a year and four months (vs. four months last year), plus my mean running coach sending me up that enormous hill, I am in much better shape.
My goal was to complete the 5K in under 40 minutes, and I did that. My first-ever award for athletics was just icing on the cake! In my post-race high, my mean running coach convinced me I should train for a 10K now, and then, a half-marathon. It sounded like a good idea at the time...
The only problem yesterday was that earlier in the week when I had been hyping up the weekend's activities to the youngest racer, we had talked about the existence of triathlons, in which you run, bike, and swim. Somehow he got it in his head that you got to swim in this race, so he was pretty disappointed when I said we weren't going swimming. There were tears involved. A post-race meal at IHOP with my mean running coach and her family seemed to cheer him up. But maybe at some point I need to sign up for a triathlon.