Tuesday, July 6, 2010
My friend Kelly and I ran the 4th of July Firecracker 4K on Sunday. Kelly is the most awesome of awesome friends because she normally runs much faster, but registered to run the race *with* me at MY pace to keep me going. It meant so much to me- thanks, Kell!
Registration and the starting line was near the Penn State football stadium. This was my first racing 'chip' race (a chip you attach to your shoe that electronically marks your start & finish times), but I didn't know what it was at first. I'd heard 'tell' of the racing chip from experienced runner friends, but my previous races were the kind with racing tags that you pin to your shirt.
The race started with a lone firework and we were off! We passed Michael & Max on our right hand side a few minutes into the race, which was great motivation. We started off at a nice comfortable pace (one that was a bit faster than what I normally run) and I actually felt like I could hold my own with the pack. We were amused by a dude dressed in patriot 'gear', as well as two guys in full fireman outfits. (Side note: I just heard a radio blip about them this morning- one of them lost 25 lbs training for the race! They ran in their gear to promote physical fitness of firefighters.)
Kelly was the BEST running coach all throughout the race. She kept me going by pointing out buildings that her architectural engineering firm had worked on, as well as reminded me that I could do it and that we had only 'this' much left before we were done with a hill. It got pretty rough around the 2 mile mark and I honestly don't think I'd have finished had it not been for her!
Michael & Max had walked to the Creamery and were waiting for us as we passed. Again, much needed encouragement. You just can't beat hearing your son and husband yelling "Yay! Go!" :) After the Creamery we were in the home stretch. I spotted a woman in front of us that I'd passed in the Black Moshannon 5K last month and the competitive side of me said that I couldn't let her beat me. We eventually passed her, but I was hurting by this point. Surprisingly, my legs weren't the problem- it was my shoulders & arms. They felt like complete dead weights. The only possible explanation for the aches that I can think of is that I've been playing piano all day long every day for the past week and my muscles were sore? In any case, it was very weird and frustrating.
As we neared the stadium/finish, Kelly asked if I was ready to go for it. We saw a couple running in front of us and they were kind of in our way, so I said yes and we started sprinting. (Well, for me it was sprinting anyway. Haha!) We spotted one more woman in front of us and Kelly asked if I wanted to try to pass her. This time I said no, but I think when it was all said and done, we did actually catch up to her.
It was a great feeling to sprint over the finish line pad, but I was d-o-n-e. I immediately sat down in the grass because I felt like I was going to hurl. Kelly asked me to get up and walk across the street to get some water and then I could sit down again. Thank goodness she did or I'd definitely have gotten sick.
The final results were: 119th out of 146 in my age group and 812th out of at least 988 runners. I definitely found this race to be tougher than the 5K, but I also ran at a faster pace and endured more hills on this one.
And it was so awesome to have a friend by my side.