"Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way." Eileen Caddy
Ever since I started running (training on a regular basis and enterring races) in 2005, I have dreamed of placing in the top 3 of my age group. Today, that dream came true when I got 3rd place in the women 35-39 age group.
Most races around here have thousands of people in them. The top in my age group run 6 minute miles. I've gotten faster over the years, but I've never seen a "6" at the front of a mile time. My only chance is to run fast in some small races. So, a few years ago I started running in the local 5K which starts just a mile from my house. One year I came in 4th, just 20 seconds behind 3rd place. But today, luck was on my side.
I woke up this morning, went through my normal routine and then headed out about an hour before the race. Since the start is so close, I jogged to the start as a warmup. Once I got there, I got my chip, attached it to my shoe, and did some stretching. I hit the port-a-potty and got in line for the start.
As usual, when the gun goes off, I'm passed by a wave of people who sprint out of the gate. I've learned to ignore it and do my thing. I knew the course had some hills in the beginning, but hit mile one at a 7:50 pace. I knew that with the humidity this morning, I couldn't hold that pace, but I was going to give it my best shot.
I hit mile 2 with a split of 8:17 and told myself to hang on. I only had one more mile to go, but was drenched in sweat. There was a little boy about 8 running next to me and I figured if he could do it, so could I. the last mile and a half is either downhill or pretty flat, so I was happy when I hit the corner and started downhill. Then when I turned on the road to the finish, I was happy. I didn't know if I'd get a PR or not, but I just kept pushing. Mile 3 split was 8:17. The last .1 mile took 51 seconds.
And just like that, I was done in 25:13. It wasn't a PR and I wasn't sure it would be good enough, but I kept hoping. When they posted the initial results, I was 2nd, but I had started right up front so I knew that might change and it did. But I stayed at 3rd and got my first hardware ever. I was very happy.
The sad thing is that on my bithday next month I age up to a new age group. If I had already aged up, I would have gotten first place in that age group today. Bummer! How often do you wish you were older than you are?
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