Sunday, November 12, 2017

Run For The Flag 2017

A friend of mine is a race director and had been asked to put on a 5k run on Veteran’s Day to honor the veterans.  There was a 5k option and a 10k option.  I emailed him a week ago to see how many people were registered.  I had not registered yet and was trying to decide between the 5k and 10k, but my running has not been up to par lately and I didn’t want to be the last 10k finisher if I chose that option.  He responded that more people were actually signed up for the 10k than the 5k.  Since I knew I’d have to do a long training run on Sunday (I’m doing the BCS Marathon December 10th), I decided I should just do the 5k.

As always happens on race day, my competitive nature kicks in.  I wasn’t sure if I could place or not, but I thought I’d line up at the front and just see what happened.  The man responsible for the idea for the race was up front with his daughter (probably about 7-8 years old).  I was right up front with them.  

As the horn blew and we started, the little girl and her dad jumped ahead of me.  I saw another woman pass me as well, but knew that at that moment I was in third.  My thought was to see if or how many other females passed me so I keep track of what place I was in.

About ½ mile in, I saw the little girl slow, put her hands on her head and start to walk.  As I got close to her, she turned around, saw me, and took off again.  I knew I was going to have to work to pass her or her endurance was going to have to wear off.  Eventually, the later occurred and I passed her.  I saw who I thought was the other woman ahead of me a little ways up, but was unsure at the moment if she was a 5k runner or 10k runner.  As we approached the half-way mark (it was an out and back course), I saw her turn around and knew.  She was #1 and I was #2.  As I turned, I saw two more women not far behind me.  I knew I had to keep my pace up, but not push too hard.

Slowly but surely, I caught the #1 female.  I kept waiting for her to surge past me or for someone else to run past.  I am very familiar with the trail we were running on, so I knew in my mind how much further I had to go and what I had in the tank.  I still didn’t know how far behind me any of my competitors were, but I started to think that I could actually do it.  That I might actually come in first. 

As I went under the last bridge and headed back to the park I tried to pick up my pace just a bit.  And as I got closer to the finish line, I heard the announcer say “here comes the first female finisher”.  

I knew I didn’t want to get passed in the last few yards so I started to run harder.  I did it.  I crossed as the first female in the 5k race.

While it may not have been my fastest 5k and definitely wouldn’t have gotten me a podium at a bigger race, I was proud.  And what a surreal feeling to be running and know that I was in first.  Sometimes it’s all about who shows up on race day and today, I happened to be the fastest female that showed up to run the 5k. 

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