Sunday, May 20, 2012

First-time 5Kers, lone exception for going to Lone Star Park

Just moments after she ran (yes, ran, not jogged) the
entirety of her first 5K ... like a BOSS! And yes, her
younger brother does look much older than she does. :)
I don't always spend my free time in half-way-to-Oklahoma (a.k.a., the towns of Fairview and Lucas); but when I do, I prefer running and/or playing music at Loveyjoy ISD events.

My sister is an elementary music teacher at the district. I've had the pleasure of playing bass and banjo at her choir's performances. Those experiences are so much fun because I get to see her in her element — sharing her passion for music and increasing her students' appreciation and abilities as musicians. No lie, she is teaching them skills that many teenage choir and band students in high school will never learn, and these children are mastering them! It's nothing short of incredible. (Don't be shocked when the number of All-State choir and band members from Lovejoy spike once her students reach high school.)

But yesterday was different. Sure, we were on her turf, but we were there to run the Lovejoy Country Run 5K, so the race atmosphere meant it was more-or-less my turf. Before yesterday, she had never run a race and I had never run a 5K. (For those keeping score, the first race I ever signed up for was the Dallas White Rock Marathon in 2011; what can I say, I've always been a "jump in the deep end first" kind of guy.)

Before the race I got to see a high school friend I hadn't seen in 15 years. She, her husband and their two children — whom my sister teaches (such a crazy-small world!) — were running, too. It was awesome catching up and reminiscing. Such a sweet gal and family!

The race

It went well. I ran very little in the weeks leading up to the race (still recovering from OKC and fully invested in cycling this spring/summer). So I entered my first 5K with only three things on my mind — no friggin' fuel belt necessary (woo-hoo), put it all out there and run till I'm empty and no matter what, I'm getting a PR, haha! 

The first mile (7:45) was great. My speed training leaves a lot to be desired (that's changing); but I've done enough to know that I can run a 7-minute mile. So after running a fairly conservative first mile, I picked up the pace for the final 2. I walked twice to drink from the mouthwash-size Dixie cups (no chance of grabbing those while running and not spilling the contents). 

As I entered the final 200-ish meters I went all out, faster than I've ever run in a race. It. Felt. Awesome. It didn't hurt that there was a sizeable crowd lining the final 100 meters. I was hauling (relative) ass. I crossed the line at 23:44 (7:36/mile) — stoked and exhausted at the same time. 

Once I caught my breath, I doubled back to the final half mile of the race, where I met and joined my sister. She was running great and didn't need the water I brought. She ran alongside a fellow teacher, so they pushed each other the whole way. My sister crossed the finish line at 34 minutes to the cheers of students, coworkers and parents. She did something she would have never considered doing even a year ago. I am so proud of her.

Lone Star Park

As some of you may know, I am a vegetarian. I have a handful of reasons why I choose to not eat meat. One is animal rights. However, I choose to not preach or attempt to convert others (not even on my blog). You like steak and bacon? Right on. You will never receive a lecture from me. If you ever inquire about my choices, I am open to sharing my views and reasons, but I will not engage in a debate. 

Surprisingly, I didn't snap a single picture yesterday; 
so, instead, here's a gaggle of now neighborsgoners, at
Tour de neighborsgo in Castle Hills, circa 2009.

Attending sporting events that involve animals is something I also don't do. Again, I am not going to try to convince anyone here why I don't bet on animals; but suffice it to say the practice makes me uncomfortable — so much so, that I've passed on opportunities to go the races with friends. However, I absolutely could not skip the chance to see some former coworkers yesterday.

I left neighborsgo (the community papers/website of The Dallas Morning News) last May after more than three  excellent years. When I saw the reunion announcement, I knew I could't miss seeing neighborsgoers and neighborsgoners. I'm glad I didn't. Seeing them again and chatting for about three hours was wonderful (get a group of journalists together, add libations and the hilarity ensues). 


That Pink Girl said...

Congratulations on a shiny new PR! ;0) Racing 5Ks are a GREAT way to whip yo tail in faster shape - if that is your goal. It's also a distance where merely shaving a few seconds off your time is considered a huge accomplishment! You set the bar pretty high with a solid time - great job!

Robert Tracy said...

Thank you! I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as longer distances. I was way wrong. All races are fun, and I welcome a new challenge. I am looking forward to putting in speed work and running another 5K this summer.