What a Way to Bring In…

37.

I’m 37 today. I don’t generally get freaked out about ‘getting older’. I might in a moment of weird panic. Where I think to myself: OMG, another year? I wanted to do X! Those moments are very fleeting. It’s not really myself that I think about, it’s my family. P and the girls. We are all getting older, time just keeps marching on, and on. L turned 2, K is turning 5 next year. My mom, is not getting any younger either. I can’t imagine a world without her in it, I won’t, not now anyway.

I don’t mean to get morbid but each birthday IS a reminder that we only have a few short years here on earth. Why don’t we pack in some fun stuff during this time?

I did, this past weekend.

Back in late March, Serenity and I talked and we wanted to make sure we ran a race together. Last year I ran my first 5k with her, and it happened to be the first 5k she ran the year before. We were hoping to make that a tradition. One problem: It is held on a weeknight. So, we came up with another race, a 5 mile race this past Sunday. She ran it last year, told me it was a good time, so we signed up. Now, this was during the meat of my Mountain Goat race training. I was holding steady at a decent enough pace for long runs. My average pace for a short distance was about 10.5 or 11.0 minute/miles. Fine.

By the time this past Friday rolled around and we were on our way to the Boston area, I panicked. I hadn’t really trained outside recently. Could I do 5 miles at 10.5 minute/miles? I knew I could complete the race, I just wondered how much my time would embarrass me. When Serenity and I run these races together the whole goal really, is to talk and have fun. Neither of us had any expectations for the other. That’s the point of a friendly run. The day of the race we left her house, had a false start (P locked his keys in the van, we had to circle back and unlock it for him with my keys), got to the event site. It was the H*arpoon 5 Mile race and it was at their brewery. We showed our ID’s, walked back, got our numbers and shirts and headed out to use the bathroom and wait for start. The weather was cold, cloudy, but not raining. I left my sweatshirt with our goodie bags, I’ll admit, I was cold but knew I would warm up as we ran. There were a lot of people there, normal race stuff.

We got to the starting line, and I’ll admit, I was a little gun-shy. I didn’t want to finish weak like I did at the Goat. The more people gathered at the start, the more nervous I got. Some of that is usual pre-race jitters. This time, some of it was, true nervousness about finishing strong. Our first 2 miles we spent chatting, checking our HR monitors. I was excited to see mine staying low (low being in the mid 170’s), our pace seemed to hover around 10.5 minute/miles. In short we were having a good time. Around mile 3, I started to get a little annoyed with some folks so we would pass people and keep moving. Serenity would update me on our pace, I use my Ni*ke GPS on my phone, but unless I have ear phones in I can’t keep up to date on pace, she has a Gar*min. At the end of mile 3 we were averaging a 10 minute mile pace. My HR was still good, climbing but not crazy. We kicked it up a bit at mile 4. Talking less and running a bit more, passing people, having some time to sit with our run. My HR was climbing into the mid 180’s, I knew I was working hard. At mile 5, I was ready for the race to be over, I wanted to kick some ass. As my training program put it last year: I wanted to run like a Kenyan. Long legs, reaching to put as much pavement between my feet at each stride as possible. I picked up the pace, heart pounding. Serenity was saying we had a little less than a mile to go, that we needed to pace ourselves, don’t want to burn out before we get to the finish. Heeding her advice I backed off, sort of, and then we rounded the last corner and saw the finish. We both picked it up and ran, she had less resistance from folks in front of her she pulled ahead. I didn’t want to her to beat me that badly 😉 so I picked it up, she slowed a bit, and we crossed the finish line together. Our last mile? At a 9:02 pace. For a MILE I ran a 9.02 minute mile pace. That is just beyond amazing to me.

We high-fived, grabbed our beer glass, a water and headed to stretch. Neither of us could get over how awesome that race felt. We had fun, we talked, we raced. As we stretched and congratulated each other, I looked at her and said:

Today, I finally feel like a runner.

I do. Even now, I feel like a runner. I trained, I worked hard at running, and I saw real results. Real, quantifiable results. It’s the best feeling ever. I will never, ever, forget how amazing that race made me feel. The cherry on top was that I did it with my best friend Serenity.

Here we are enjoying a post-race Summer Ale that had to be the best beer I’ve had in a long time:

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Dude. You ARE A RUNNER. We did awesome – that is a way to run a race.

    Happy birthday today. I’m glad you got your PR when you were 36! Now for a new PR at 37! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Happy Birthday! Great job!

    Reply

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