The race started at 9:15 in front of Dunning Chapel on the Alma College Campus. I ran as a fundraiser for Youth For Christ, but I wore the Scott Johnston memorial tee shirt. Hopefully I will get a copy of the Johnston clan picture that I can post here.
Route: West down Superior, East to Fairlane, and up Harvard Avenue
Distance: 3.1 miles
Total time: 48:28
Pace: 15:57 minutes per mile
Ave. Hr.: 136
Max. Hr: 158
Cals burned: 460 (I am now dividing the number on my monitor by 2 - seems more accurate)
This race is a little different in that the streets are lined with people watching. My group started at 9:15. The 8 mile group had green bibs, my group (the walk/run group) had white, and the walkers had yellow. The walkers started 2 minutes later than we did. Twenty seconds out, I was pretty much left in the dust. I was the lone white sheeter behind a whole mob of others. Because the route doubled back on itself, I could see people who had passed me 2 minutes earlier meeting me on the way east. Then the yellow bibs started passing me. Little old men in their 70s passed me. Fathers pushing double strollers passed me. Teenagers chatting breezily and effortlessly passed me. People ambling along, and not all that fast, passed me (and this was when I was running).
On the last mile, Anna passed me - Anna who was doing her first 5K ever. She just walked right on by and left me about 1/4 mile behind her up until the finish. (Remember, the girl started 2 minutes after I did.) After I crossed the finish line, I forgot to turn off my watch right away so my time was a little better than what I posted above. Anna came in at 46 something. It wasn't until I caught up with her that I remembered to hit the time button. We headed for the water table and went back to join Justin, Clayton, and Claire, whom we had seen along the route, and waited for Melisa to finish her run. She did the 8 mile run. I don't know what her time was because she, like me, forgot to look at the time clock. Considering where she was a year and a half ago, it is nothing short of amazing.
As I sit here thinking about today's run, many thoughts run through my mind. When a person is out on a country road all by herself, it's easy to imagine herself as streak on the landscape. 5K races bring her back to reality. Even though I am not a stellar walker, let alone runner, these 5Ks serve a very important function; they get me out the door on ordinary mornings with the promise of "someday." They also force me to take an honest look at myself. Out on that country road, I am a long, lean running machine; I am reliving the 80s. But the picture we took at today's race shows me that I am a long way from there. I may never get there, but I will never give up trying. That's me.
My time is better than the last 5K I did, but I worked a lot harder, went above my HR zone most of the time, and didn't have a 4 year old "holding me back." (Actually, it was a bit of a struggle to keep up with the 4-year-old at the last race.) I am taking small bites and making slow but steady progress. I am further along than I was last week, and next week I will be further along than I am now.
As I did today, I am tuning out the negative voices in my head that tell me how often I have failed, and I am focusing solely on the small patch of ground in front of me. It's all I can do. It's all any of us can do because we can't run the mile until we've run the quarter mile. If we never run the quarter mile because it isn't a big lofty goal, then we really never get anywhere. The mile is made up of a couple thousand steps, and the ones at the end are no more important than the ones at the beginning.
Tonight I am walking like an old lady. Every joint aches. It's one thing to run 2 miles on a country road and quite another to do it on cement for 3.2 miles. But tomorrow, come sunup, I will be out there again - a streak on the landscape - a long lean running machine - if only in my own mind.