Thursday, April 15, 2010

Couch 2 5K Graduation!

Saturday was gloriously sunny, with a chilly wind blowing. Perfect day for a run! Jim and the Erins, (our Erin, and our neighbor Erin) and I drove to Pottstown, about half an hour away, early enough to get through the registration process. Not sure what that would entail, it ended up being simple enough. Go to one table to check in and receive a number, another to pick up t-shirt and coupons, and don't miss the table with information on upcoming area races! The Chick-fil-a cow was walking around handing out sandwich coupons and the room slowly filled with racers and supporters. Kate and Erin B's mom Michele arrived soon, our photographer and cheerleaders- vital to our success!

It wasn't too difficult to separate the new runners from the experienced. There is a look of confidence in the face of one who has "been there- done that" that is unmistakable. Others follow the lead of these seasoned folks, watching for cues. Grab some of the snack now or avoid that table? Start stretching? Even jog around the outside of the building? One thing for sure; when we lined up at last at the starting line, those in front were not wearing sweatshirts or their race-day shirt freshly plucked from the table. They were outfitted to RACE, faces like flint, eyes on the prize.

We, on the other hand, situated ourselves somewhere in the middle of the pack. Sharon Lucas and I decided to start out together, but since I am taller than she, understood that we'd meet at the finish. The Erins were nearby somewhere, but I sure didn't expect to see them until it was all over. There was a bit of an announcement from a bullhorn that only those in front could hear, then the start- we were off!

Jim soon passed me by, running his own race as I'd hoped he would. Sharon and I ran and talked until the first turn. At that point she told me to go on ahead and I lengthened my stride just a bit. I've enjoyed the solitariness of running up to now, and even in a pack of people was able to find that quiet alone place as I ran.

At the one-mile mark there was a volunteer calling out the time. I made it in 10:30. The next mile was 20:34- not bad. Since the roads were relatively level, no hills, it was an easy run. Beginning next to a golf course and then continuing through a neighborhood it was also a lovely run, with blossoming things surrounded by the green of Spring. Having volunteers stop the traffic was a blessing, and I tried to thank them at each intersection. When I came upon the water table I had a quick conversation with myself, asking whether I needed that cup of cool water, and decided against it- I was not feeling the least parched.

I'm not sure if it was before or after the water table that I spotted them, but Kate and Michele had made their way by a shortcut to the middle of the course for photographs and cheers! When asked why I am smiling in the shots of the race, it is because they were yelling their heads off with encouragement. Michele has been a soccer mom for years- she knows how to yell!

As we wound our way to the finish we passed the local high school which was hosting sporting events and buses were arriving- yay for running past school buses... (I always try to time my runs at home to miss the school buses, not always successfully)

About the time I could see the finish line I heard a familiar voice- my Erin was cheering me on! Having finished, she was walking the course back a bit to encourage the rest of our group in their final bid for the end of the race. (At least she wasn't doing what many of the gung-ho athletes were doing and running the race backwards. I passed a few of them looking just as fit and strong as at the start.)

Erin's encouragement was just what I needed to kick it in and find a bit more git-up-and-go. One more turn and there were Kate and Michele, cheering and shooting photos! And there was the finish line! One last bit of sprint from I'm not sure where, and I was across the line at 32:40! Right behind me was Sharon, who had followed me by a few paces the entire way. I'd had no idea.

We cheered on the rest of our group as they came in, invigorated by the run and the excitement generated by the whole event. The results were posted online a few days later and we were thrilled to learn that our Erin came in first in her age group! Erin B. was third for the same group, and Sharon was 2nd in hers! We older folks just wanted to complete our run; Erin Kelly wanted to place. Jim finished without walking at 28:28, a time in which he used to run 10Ks. (It's okay honey- gotta start somewhere.) Everyone accomplished their goal.

We all came to our home for a Belgian waffle feast and fellowship before moving into the rest of the day. Life goes on.

But I have actually run- without walking- a 5K race. wow.

When's the next one?!


WORLASI said...

Beautiful post. God bless you. I also welcome you to my post at God bless you for passing by and being a follower.

Karen said...

This was a fun read. Thanks for writing it, Barbaranne.