Woo-hoo, my first timed race is in the books and I didn’t throw up, pass out or come in last! And, given my bum knee and major anxiety about running on my own, I thought the first and last of those were likely.
The race in question was the inaugural Eagle Lake Classic, a 5K run through a local nature park. It happens to be one of my favorite places to run and is stunningly beautiful by Florida standards – meaning, if you like fields of palmettos, water birds, live oaks and the occasional alligator as sightseeing along your run, walk or bike ride.
The folks putting this together did a fantastic job! The free pancake, egg and banana breakfast post-race was a welcome treat. Everything was clearly marked and well-staffed. The race packet swag was astounding – three $20 Aveda gift cards, race T-shirt, water bottle, sunscreen, hair ties, lip balm, Biofreeze… I felt like I hit the jackpot before I even started running!
As for me – I dosed myself with Advil, Biofreeze, and a new patella ligament band and my knee never hurt a bit. I also did the unthinkable and - GASP! - wore my brand-spanking-new shoes, which proved themselves worthy of keeping. The two weeks of low-impact cross training paid off in legs that felt sturdy and strong. The pollen count down here is so high, it’s literally off the charts, making my breathing feel like that of a coal miner, but it didn’t slow me down much. I came in with a chip time of 37:40, so a 12:09 mile average pace. (Because I’m a little OCD, I also used my trusty Runkeeper app during the race, which logged a total distance of 3.2 miles in 37:47 for an average 11:49 mile pace. I like that one better!) Either way, not a bad place to start my timed racing career. :)
Best part of the race: It’s a tie, really - Finally passing and remaining in front of Pink-Top-Blond-Ponytail, with whom I played the running equivalent of leap frog for the entire second mile. And getting a big high-five/extra squeezy hug from Leo at the end as he said, “I’m so proud of you Mom – you DID IT!”
Worst part of the race: Having to choose between giving an all-out sprint to the finish line… and peeing my pants. I realized about mile 2.6 that I should’ve laid off the pre-race water a half hour earlier than I did. In the end I split the difference, running as fast as I could while clenching my innards like a vise. Made for a loooovely finish-line photo. Ugh.