Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ritual run

Run For Runaways 5K (organized by Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children) , Bridgewater, NJ - Saturday, November 1, 2008

I prefer 15Ks and 1/2 marathons to shorter distances. But I enjoy running with DH and we started the ritual of completing a 5K together every year. This is our second family 5K.

Despite our best intentions to reach the starting point early, DH and I dawdled over breakfast (he had a PB&J sandwich and tea; I had a bowl of Honey Bunches of oats and tea) and 30 minutes before the start, we were speeding toward the wrong exit on Highway 287. Always the eternal pessimist, I was pretty sure we would miss the race. Luckily it was DH and not me behind the wheel; so we reached Duke Island Park, Bridgewater with time to spare.

There were several activities, apart from the 5K run...a silent auction, a 2-mile walk, kids' sprints and face painting for kids. Among the goody-bag sponsors were Schering-Plough and Commerce Bank; and our race packet was a reusable shopping bag with pocket calculator/telephone directory, writing pad, antibacterial hand gel, a small fan, paper clips, paper pads, pens and highlighter, and a multipurpose pouch. We also got white race T-shirts. Not bad. I made a mental note to add race-chachkis to the list of things to consider when picking races (especially shorter ones).

The weather was a sunny and pleasant 45 degrees. The course was a paved bike path forming a loop within Duke Island Park. After a few minutes of warming up and stretching, we were off. DH and I ran side by side well into the first mile. I increased my pace and stride length, pulling ahead toward the end of Mile 1, finishing the first mile in 7:27. I was running much faster than I was accustomed to, and breathing very heavily. I was tempted to slow down but tried to hold on for as long as possible; and surprisingly, was able to sustain the pace till the end of Mile 2. I wondered how DH was doing. My first 2 mile splits were 7:27 and 7:27. How's that for a steady pace? The water station was at the start of Mile 3. I could have used some gatorade at this point, but gratefully gulped down water instead. We made a turn after the water station and could see slower runners to our left. I scanned the crowd for DH, but he was not to be seen.

I braced myself for the final mile. By this time, I had to slow down a little. I had slight difficulty breathing; feeling like a very inexperienced runner, unable to find the right pace and slowing down at the last mile of the race. But I managed to keep my stride length, so I didn't fall behind too much. I was pleased that though my pace fell, I was able to pass a few runners. The sound of cheering spectators at the finish helped me step up the pace a little in the last 200 meters. I waved to a clapping little boy as I semi-sprinted to a finish at 23:25; a PR.
I then joined the spectators in cheering other runners to the finish. The volume of cheers increased as an older gentleman crossed the finish (I later found out he came second in the 70+ age category) and DH followed close behind. I ran a few final yards with DH, as he crossed the finish at 29:00.

DH was disappointed; he felt he had trained better this year, compared to the training he had done for the Hometown Heroes 5K we did last year (practically nothing). I consoled him saying running 1 1/2 to 2 miles, 1 or 2 days a week is not exactly better training (I am not sure if he was consoled by this). I am just grateful he humors me in my craze for running and that we are able to run together.
We helped ourselves to post-race refreshment - energy drinks (I usually don't experiment with energy drinks much, but I sampled Gatorade Tiger, Gatorade's first athlete-sponsored drink, and found myself liking it), bananas and energy bars. After stretching out on the grass a little, we had freshly grilled burgers and hot dogs.

DH opted out of the post-race massage, so as I lined up for mine, he chatted with a volunteer of the Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children and petted his handsome golden retriever. I learned that the home is a non-profit organization, providing temporary living arrangements as well as counseling, short-term crisis intervention programs and skills programs for over 500 homeless and abused teenagers and young adults. I think that is remarkable.
I chatted and traded race stories with Glenn, a very happy runner who had just completed the 5K with a PR and was glowing with pride. He had been running for about 2 1/2 years, during which time, he also underwent back surgery. I could see that running was an obsession with him. He had completed a 1/2 marathon this year and was already making plans for a full and for longer distances. He told me of places where I could get some hill training. We exhanged phone numbers and made tentative plans to join a running club together.

After a soothing massage, we waited for the awards ceremony. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I had finished first in my age category. Who woulda thunk? I went up to get my gleaming gold medal, feeling a little weird (I usually only win finisher's medals) as the announcer stumbled over my name, and DH cheered wildly. I must say - it felt quite good!
Run For Runaways 5K, Bridgewater, NJ - Saturday, November 1, 2008
DH: 29:00 - 9:21 pace
Place: 169/247 overall; 111/144 men; 10/15 in 35-39 age category
Bib No: 411
me: 23:25 - 7:33 pace
Place: 63/247 overall; 8/99 women; 1/14 in 30-34 age category
Bib No: 480

19 comments:

lauren said...

wow! great time on the race! you are a speedy one!

Heather said...

What an awesome race - super speedy! Way to go.

I Run for Fun said...

Thanks, Lauren & Heather. I was really gasping and panting at the finish!

Gotta Run said...

Nice pace for your race!!!

Thanks for the awesome comments about my recent race. Still on such a HIGH :)

Blyfinn said...

Nice pace! You were moving pretty good.

Cassandra said...

What a pretty medal! And what a great finishing time! Great job!

Legs and Wings said...

First, thank you for spending a few minutes on my blog. I appreciate your comment. Please come by again.

You set a nice time for the 5K!

Girl on Top said...

Haha on you trying to console DH!

Great job!

X-Country2 said...

Congrats! What a fun tradition to have with your husband.

akshaye said...

great race! You are fast..

Erica said...

I'm so jealous of your running abilities! I need to add you to my list of inspirations! Incredible work! My grandma lives in bridgewater!

I Run for Fun said...

Thank you Erica...we should plan a run together when you visit your grandmom.

jesse said...

Omg, I am going to add your blog. I'm a runner too, and reading this was so inspiring! Congratulations!

I Run for Fun said...

Thanks, Jesse. Love your blog too.

Melanie said...

Thanks for checking out my blog and comment! Wow, you kicked some serious butt in that race! Congrats! I added your blog to my rss feeds! :)

Gotta Run said...

5k's stress me out!! Looks like you smoked it girl. An with a medal to boot. SWEETTTTTTT!!!!

RunToFinish said...

Sofun to get a medal!! I prefer slightly longer distances too, but am surprised how much speed I can push out of myself for a shorter race.

Frayed Laces said...

Cha-ching! Nice bling!

RunToFinish said...

Hope you are still in for 7 on the 7th, we've got a good little race crowd!