Yay! It’s officially fall! Now I can break into the many, many cans of pumpkin that I’ve been hoarding in my pantry. For some reason, it felt strange to enjoy the pumpkiny deliciousness while the calendar said it was still summer.
Anyway, this past weekend jam-packed with all sorts of things … races, parades, birthdays, etc.
But first, here’s the exciting news:
Yes, I finished first in my age group for the very first time!
The Milford Road Race 5K and Walk is a small community race, but it is extremely organized, and it raises money for the local Special Olympics program, so it’s a win-win. And for readers who’ve been with me for awhile, you may remember that this is the same race last year where I finished third in my age group and earned my first medal, which I’m still insanely proud of.
My goal on Saturday was, yes, that elusive sub-25 time. I admit I wasn’t feeling too optimistic, since I really haven’t been focusing on speed while I’m training for my half marathon, but I was hopeful.
The weather was perfect: overcast and in the low 50s. I lined myself up at the front of the starting line (the race is timed, but no chips, so being at the front = the most accurate time) with what felt like a million high school students (the race did start at the local high school, so I guess that’s not surprising) and took off.
To say I flew in that first mile would be an understatement. I finished in 7:40. Holy crap! I have NEVER run a mile that fast in my entire life. Ever. On the treadmill during my speed drills, I’ll sometimes hit that pace, but maybe for like two minutes; not an entire mile!
I won’t lie: at that point, I was like, I’ve totally got this! But then the next mile was a gradual uphill that got steeper as you went, with a killer climb around 2 miles. The course then flattens out to a glorious downhill as you head back to the high school.
My pace slowed was hovering in the 8:30/8:45 range during the hills, so I knew I needed that downhill to make up time, even with the slight cushion I got from that speedy first mile. My Garmin died before the race started so I held my phone so I could peek at my pace on my Nike+ app and — its possible I was hallucinating — but I swear I saw a 6 as the first number of my pace during that downhill.
When I turned into the school grounds into the home stretch, I tried to summon all my energy and push it to the finish line. I was too scared to look at my time but as I rounded a corner to the finish line I saw this on the clock: 24:53. But I still had a little ways to go and I knew at that point I wasn’t getting my sub-25. Again.
My final time? 25:05, just 3 seconds short of my 5K PR and soooooo close to my goal. 6 seconds!!! I couldn’t have made up 6 seconds somewhere on the course?! That’s pretty much what was going through my head immediately after finishing the race. It’s hard not to be disappointed by coming up short yet again, even though I know 25:05 is a terrific time.
We had a lot going on the rest of the day (more to come on that), but I decided to stick around for the official results to see how I did in my age group. I’ve learned when running local road races, which are usually smaller and less likely to include elite runners, your chances of placing in your age group are much improved.
And I was right.
Okay, this takes some of the sting out of coming soooo close to my goal.
In the end, I finished 38th of 154 overall (1st in the 30-39 age group, which included 23 women). My pace? 8:04.
I rushed home and took a shower because next on the Saturday agenda? Our town’s 300th anniversary parade! Oh, and if you recall, yesterday was also Buddy’s 7th birthday, so yes, he got a PARADE on his BIRTHDAY!
What a lucky boy!
So as a caveat, we live in a teeny, tiny town and even though I had read the parade lineup (including the Budweiser Clydesdales!), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and part of me was nervous it was going to be a bit cheesy and boring.
But it was awesome.
For me, I think part of it is because this was a parade celebrating my community. The high school band was OUR high school band. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts marching with their troops were kids Buddy goes to school with. The firemen and policemen were OUR public safety heroes. We saw neighbors and friends marching with different groups or serving as parade marshals.
And yes, the Clydesdales were pretty cool. (“PONIES!” Mimi screamed when she saw them. Meanwhile, all I could think was Please don’t let them poop in front of the kids – especially the boys – because we’ll never hear the end of it).
Here are some scenes from the day!
After the parade, we walked home and got ready for a little family celebration for Buddy’s 7th birthday. As part of our new birthday tradition, I had asked him a series of questions about his likes and dislikes at the ripe old age of 7.
(Here’s the link for the survey, if you want to print out your own.)
So as you can see, it was a pretty sweet Saturday for all! Anyone race this weekend? Watch a parade? Enjoy any fall activities?
P.S. Eeeeek, no meal plan again this week, but I have a good reason: We’re road-trip bound on Friday. More to come on that …