Off the bike and onto the run. I was excited and ready to be on my feet. I run out of transition and I see my parents standing to the side cheering for me. They completely surprised me by showing up. My parents were at my races during middle school, high school, college and all the triathlons I did when I was pursuing my pro card. To see them still show up and cheer for me when my goal was to have fun and not win meant more than they will ever know. I don’t think you’re ever too old to enjoy having your parents show up and support you.
After a few minutes of running, I looked at my Garmin and saw a 7:00 min/mile pace and knew I needed to slow it down. I’m running 1x per week for 30 minutes pushing a jog stroller and averaging 10:00 min/mile pace. I haven’t done any speed work other than quick run efforts in CrossFit WODs. 7:00 min/mile was not going to be a wise pace to hold for much longer. This is an easy mistake to make when starting the run (you’re excited) but also easy to fix. Be aware and look at your watch. Don’t go by feel because the run doesn’t feel hard in the beginning and if you go by feel, you’ll run too fast too soon and pay for it later.
I settled into a pace that was challenging, but a pace I knew I could hold for a 5k. I was averaging about 8 min/mile pace. When I hit the hills in mile two, I tried to run up them, but I was going about as fast as I would if I walked it. Walking would let me grab my breath and relax, so walking it was!
I was thankful I rode smart because now I was able to run strong. This course definitely required strength. I kept a steady effort and caught up to several athletes that had passed me on the bike.
The run course had it all – grass trail, sidewalk, asphalt, hills (and more hills) dirt trail, rock trail. It requires strength to navigate a course like this. Another reason CrossFit was rocking my world because I felt strong in every aspect of the run course. Coach advice – you should do some trail runs and hill repeats in your workouts. You never know what you might get on race day so always be ready!
The last mile was mostly trail and it was shaded and beautiful. It reminded me of cross-country. I was reminiscing my competitive racing days, accolades, and just enjoying that season of my life. I then see my dad at the bottom of the hill at the last turn before the finish. He tells me the finish line is a few hundred yards away. It felt like old times. He would stand at sections of race courses to cheer for me, especially near the finish line letting me know how much was left. Him standing there was a beautiful, healing way to release my past and embrace my present.
I ran towards the finish line seeing my mom, Jeff and my kids. This finish was the best. My family was there to love and support me. I ran this race for health, not to win. I ran this race to have fun, not to stress out trying to win or prove something. I had nothing to prove. New season, new me. I
t’s okay for life to change. It’s okay for goals to change. It’s okay for things to be different.
Then it was off to the vendors to enjoy food and drink! Love post-race celebrations.
Up next is the race day transitions