So today marked the end of my sixth week of training for my half marathon. I completed this week’s training by running in the North Olmsted Homecoming 5k. I was excited to run another short, quick race to see how much my training has paid off so far. After running 6 miles Thursday morning with Jill, Stori, and Lili, and an hour spinning class yesterday, I was feeling pretty good going into today’s race (Not to mention I got more that four hours of sleep before this race).
Unlike in the previous races I’ve run in, this race had a lot of younger kids and older adults, leaving the middle age groups pretty slim. When I went to check in at the pre-registration table, I was one of two females pre-registered in the 25-29 women age group. This made me excited because I actually had a chance to place in my age group and get an award for my finish. But I tried my best not picture myself going up to receive a medal-I still had to run my race first.
The race started quickly down a hill to start off on our 3.1 course. While most people would see this as an advantage to help build momentum for the rest of their run, I was cautious as I began down the hill because not only did I want to lose control and run into anyone, but I was also worried about my knees since they began to ache as I started to run. The farther I got down the road before the first turn, I was really worried about my left knee and felt that I was running really slow as I watched everyone take off in front of me. That’s when I regrouped mentally and told myself just to focus on my race, not anyone else’s. While I felt the first mile I was sluggish, as I approached the first mile-marker and heard the caller yell out 9:55, I politely said “thank you” and continued on running, mentally congratulating myself on my new personal best mile time. I knew if I wanted to finish this race in 30 minutes, I needed to keep my pace up. By the time I hit mile-marker two and heard right around 20 minutes (not exactly sure on the time because the young boy wasn’t speaking 100-percent clearly), I knew I needed to keep up the pace.
As I rounded the corner back near the park to finish the last of the race, I saw a nice, challenging hill ahead. And boy was it! About halfway up, my pace slowed tremendously, but I kept telling myself just keep moving and you’ll regain your speed once you reach the top. It definitely took a lot out of me, and took me about a half mile to regain some momentum again. When I hit the last quarter mile, I was pushing myself as hard as I could with the cramps starting to develop in my stomach. As I rounded the turn into the park and the time clock came into view, I sighed in defeat when the clock was reading past 32 and a half minutes. I really thought I could finish the race in 30, but still told myself I had set a new personal best in a 5k.
I crossed the finish line in 32:48.
Feeling slightly defeated not finishing the race in 30 minutes, I stayed around for the awards, hoping that maybe I would still place in my age group. When the race coordinator reached the women 25-29 group, I dropped my head where I was sitting, hoping to hear my name. After announcing first and second place finishers, he said third place “Anna Norris”. I got up from the picnic table I was sitting at and slightly jogged to the woman who was handing out the medals. I was so proud of myself in that moment.
After completing my fifth race, and being at an age where the women are really fast, I felt that I had accomplished something already in my training. The only thing that could have made that moment more special if I would have had a close friend or family member there with me to share in my accomplishment.
So, at this halfway mark, I decided to roll out some numbers of progress.
Weight-loss to date: 76.5 lbs
Dress/pant size: 12/14
Number of miles run in 2010: 173.51
Personal best times- 1 mile: 9:55, 5k: 32:48, 10k: 1:12
Number of races complete: 5
Number of awards: 1
Only six more weeks til I run 13.1 on 10.1o.10!
“I run not to finish the race first, but to finish my best race.”