Sweetheart 4 Mile Run Race Recap
I ran my first race in three months on Saturday. I was nervous going in because it had been so long, and also because of the weather. It’s been cold, so cold here, and the forecast wasn’t all that great for Saturday. No snow, which was a plus, but cold temps for race time: maybe 15-20. And between you and me, I’m really freaking tired of the cold.
When I got up that morning, I felt unprepared. My girlfriend texted me just before I left that the highway that I was supposed to go on was actually closed due to an accident. Shoot! I had to quickly figure out a new route; fortunately the area is not entirely unfamiliar to me, so I was able to go back roads and my GPS finally caught up with my intent.
When I got to the race site it was 16 degrees. Ugh.
For this race, you can pair up with someone and combine your times and ages for prizes. Last year, I declined to do so, figuring I was too slow; I wouldn’t want to drag anyone down. I had planned the same course this year, but I ran into someone I knew while we were waiting for the race to start. She encouraged me to partner up, and volunteered to find someone nice and slow for me.
She found me Rich, a 67 year old man who had been running for just a few years. We both apologized to each other about how slow we were, and then we registered in the 110-119 combined age category. LOL.
Race time quickly approached, and we were all relieved to see that the sun was warming up the temps to the lower twenties. Our small group of 150 runners took off.
I found my pace without a problem and watched as most of the runners dashed off ahead of me. Rich and I had talked repeatedly about just having fun with the super hilly course and not worry about time, so that’s what I did. I made it up the first hill without stopping to walk, but when I hit the second, I allowed myself a brief walk before moving on.
I was so grateful that I was staying warm despite the low temps. I had layered appropriately and it was paying off. Normally my hands get very numb when it is super cold out, but I’d even layered my gloves and I was fine. I stopped for a quick sip of water at mile 2 and kept going.
I started to pass a few people here and there but for the most part I knew I was near the back of the pack. I tried to conserve my energy for the monster hill that I knew awaited me at mile 3. Last year I was unprepared for the steep slope, so high that no one even bothered to try to run it. This year I knew, so I slowed my pace going up and finally dropped to a walk about a third of the way up. I didn’t beat myself up about it; like Rich said, I was going to enjoy this race, not hate it.
Once I passed the summit I started a slow jog again, but it was hard to catch my breath. It took a few minutes and another quick walk break before I felt OK again. Fortunately the big hill had rewarded us on the other side with some downhill action, and by mile 3.5 I was feeling strong and good again. I even overtook a woman who had been in front of me the whole time.
I finished the race feeling really good, like I could have kept going. I was surprised to see that my time was slower last year as a result; I felt so much more confident this year. I finished in 51:30, a whole minute off of last year’s time. But I felt great, and tried not to be upset about it.
I went inside where my partner Rich waited. He brought me a bottle of water and informed me he’d finished 8 minutes ago. My 67 year old partner beat me by eight whole minutes. Talk about an ego crush. But all of that faded away when we discovered that we had actually scored second place in our Really Old Combined Age Division. I was awarded with a medal with two hearts on it. I couldn’t believe it! I actually won something at a race! It was kind of funny but we weren’t even last in our age group, there were third place finishers behind us. So even though I was super slow, I wasn’t the slowest. And it was really fun joking around with my new friend. By the end of the awards we were making plans to carpool for upcoming races.
So all in all, a good race. I showed up, I ran, I completed the course feeling strong. At the end of the day, that’s all it is really about.