This eBib was in my mind this past weekend as I ran races on both Saturday and Sunday. There’s a lot I love about organized races, which is why most of my disposable income is earmarked for race registrations. Still, there are those final moments when the Race Director has us all gathered together at the start and is trying to talk with us. Usually, these remarks concern the flow of the course, admonitions to run on one side of the road, and thanks to sponsors.
Unfortunately, the bull horn or amp system is not always the best, so the RD often sounds like Charlile Brown’s teacher. Add to that the natural nervous tendency of many runners to jump up and down or stretch or fiddle with their shoes, watches and earphones –all the while chatting with other runners. Sometimes, I look around and wonder why this seemed like a good idea when I signed up for the darn race.
Saturday’s race was a 5K, the “Sprint for Music” at Lakes Park. I can run to the start line from where I live, I was a band geek in high school, so this is one I like to try and support. Different musical groups from Cypress Lake High are positioned along the course, which is in a pretty setting, so there are lots of attractive features.
My issue is that I hate 5Ks. While sprinters think of them as long races, most of the rest of us find them on the short side. That means you run really fast, and then faster at the end. They hurt, or they should, if you are giving it the effort necessary. As a marathoner, I’m just finding my rhythm after three miles. After all, there are 23 more to follow.
So as I stood there, anticipating 3 miles and 20+ minutes of hurt, I found myself yet again questioning my judgment. Then the kind band parent gave us the signal and bam! we were off. And my mind was taken up with the mechanics of the race, checking my breathing, pace, watching for other runners and making those minute by minute decisions of how much to push it, whether to pass the person ahead, all the while trying to think of something-anything!-to distract myself from just how tough it is to run at race pace.
We were also battling some significant wind Saturday. While the course was a big loop, it seemed the wind was either in our faces or cutting at us sideways; never giving us a push from behind. Could have happened, just saying I didn’t feel it. At any rate, we did eventually reach and cross the finish line.
Instantly, it was all good. The sun was warm, even if the wind was not. The people who had been passing each other in spirited competition were now all chums. We shared our impressions (yes, the wind made us slower, we agreed) and the snacks provided the generous band parents, who continued to thank us for running. And of course, we did what we always do when the race is over–compared notes on where and when we would race again.