I had a bit of a different Sunday long run on my plan. I was suppose to do 4mi race pace (I assume not 5K race pace, but that's ok!) followed by 4mi cruise in the afternoon. What?, who wants to get sweaty twice?! So I ran ~2mi from my house to the race & met Kris & Shelly there. It's been awhile since we've all been together, Shelly is 19wks pregnant, YAY! We stood around for a little bit and got our race instructions, then Kris & I went out for a 1mi warm up. We talked about our "game plan". Kris' goal was to crush some co-workers! She pointed them out, so I had their numbers too! My game plan was to barrel it down the hill & try to save some to make it back up at the end! In all fairness, I felt like I had a home court advantage. We were running the same course which included my 0.25mi hill repeat workout. I've done this hill 10x at once, this time will only be once, but it will feel like #9... You GOT this!
3miles done for warm up... Now it's GO time! We didn't toe the line, so we were weaving and bobbing initially. I finally found my pace and went for it. I was feeling comfortable the first 1.5mi, mainly because it was downhill and then flat! A little after the turn around, which was literally my backyard, I saw Kris, she was right on my tail as we had planned! She yelled at me to run faster, I was in second place! What? Really?... so that lady 10ft in front of me must have been first! Do I go for it? Do I hold back a bit and save it for the hill? I don't know, I've never led a race before! Let's go for it!!! I picked up my pace enough to pass her & tried to hold my lead. I've never liked the feeling of chasing anyone or being chased, I like to run my own race, which is a lot easier when you're in the middle of the pack. Time to step up!
Right before I got to the hill, I felt and hear something that would make Kris cringe! My shoelace came untied! Immediately I thought, Kris would KILL me if I stopped to tie it... especially in a race! It has happened multiple times on training runs, to which Kris would yell at me, "That's ridiculous! I'm not stopping!" ;-). So I kept running. I was even imagined myself sprinting for the finish line with one shoe flying off! I guess in a way it helped a little because I was half way up the hill already & wasn't even thinking about it. Still in first place, I heard a sweet little voice behind me, "You can stop and tie your shoelace, if you want!" "No, that's ok!", I replied. "No, really, it's unsafe! I will stop with you!" WHAT?! I didn't know what to make of it! So, I quickly stopped, tied my shoelace & said, "Thank you, let's finish this together!"
For a moment my heart melted at the show of camaraderie I had just witnessed! Usually in triathlons, we are fighting for dear life trying to stay out of DB age groupers way, who will knock you off your bike and keep going! But the race was not over yet, no time to get sappy now! We continued along side of each other for a little bit until she said, "Go ahead!" That was my cue to wrap it up, I knew the finish was around the corner. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face & a warm feeling in my heart!
After the race, I introduced myself to my new found hero, who's 9y/o son had won his age group! For me, THIS is what "racing" is all about! Bringing people together from all walks, (or runs,) of life; for one main goal... to be healthy! First place or last place we all showed up & got our groove on!!! First thing that I did when I got home was tell my daughters how this "competition" turned into a show of friendship & caring! These are the hidden lessons that I want my children to thrive from!