4th Annual AFA Veterans Fun Run, 9 November 2013

What: 5K

Where: Bedford, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Me and Colin, with moral support from a very bundled-up Drew

Benefited: Air Force Association and Bedford VA

Time: 33:44 Personal record! (Since beaten)

Photos: (click to open larger versions)
Photos tagged by RaceWire courtesy of RaceWire; all others by Drew

All smiles before the race, when we were standing in the sun and almost warm.

All smiles before the race, when we were standing in the sun and almost warm.

The lady in the Northeastern Huskies hoodie clearly doesn't care that she's blocking me from the official cameras. Psh.

The lady in the Northeastern Huskies hoodie clearly doesn’t care that she’s blocking me from the official cameras. Psh.

You can see my leg (yellow socks) on the far left here!

You can see my leg (yellow socks) on the far left here!

I even hid in Drew's starting line picture. (It's a shame he didn't capture the awesome pose I did when I noticed him.)

I even hid in Drew’s starting line picture. (It’s a shame he didn’t capture the awesome pose I did when I noticed him.)

I was too busy trying not to puke/faint at this point to pose for Drew.

I was too busy trying not to puke/faint at this point to pose for Drew. Colin managed it, however.

Colin and me sprinting to the finish

Colin and me sprinting/trying to sprint to the finish

This might be the least attractive I've ever looked in a picture. Ever.

This might be the least attractive I’ve ever looked in a picture. Ever.

Recap: This race was freaking cold. The email the race organizers sent us a few days beforehand listed the forecast as being 48 degrees by gun time (9 am), but it didn’t get much above the mid-30s this morning. I wore the kit I had settled on in a panic the night before, but I needn’t have worried about looking ridiculous at a Veterans’ Day race; I saw ladies in sparkly mini-skirts and wigs, and men in tights (tights!) adorned with the American flag.

Even with all my layers, however, the pre-race milling about left me shivering despite the running in place and warm ups I was doing. This made the first half-mile or so very uncomfortable… my leg muscles were tight and my lungs didn’t seem to want to take in oxygen. Silly lungs. Usually Colin and I are quite chatty during races, especially at the beginning when we’re still feeling good, but we were silent as we climbed the first few hills and struggled to breathe.

I felt like we were running so slowly for the first mile, but unlike the All Hallow’s Eve Romp, the MapMyRun lady announced that we had, in fact, run our fastest mile to date – 10:49. Colin and I were gobsmacked, and also rejuvenated by the news! We managed the keep up the pace, and somehow continued to get faster with each mile (10:28 for mile 2 and 10:10 for mile 3). I was so pumped. My fastest mile ever was 10:58, and that was just one single mile during my 5K for Beginners class back in March. Here I was maintaining a sub-11-minute-mile pace for a whole race… rock on! I don’t think we’ve high-fived so many times in one race as we did today.

The last half-mile or so of the race was hard. I knew we were on pace to PR, and I was so pumped that we were running faster miles than usual, that I think I was pushing Colin quite a bit harder than I normally do. At one point we had to slow down a little because his breathing got really labored, and it was a huge relief for me to do so; I felt like I couldn’t quite keep up the same pace for the rest of the race, but I didn’t want to slow down and let Colin down. And, because we were pushing ourselves for so long, we didn’t have our usual store of energy for our last all-out sprint to the finish line. We ran a little faster, but certainly not 100% sprinting.

Because the last bit was so hard, and because I had been pushing myself the whole way, I felt vaguely like I was going to hurl when I crossed the finish line. I kept walking and tried to even my breathing out, then I noticed Colin wasn’t with me. He was sitting on the giant tire of a backhoe-type vehicle and not looking very good. My own grossness went away immediately and I went off to find him water, and luckily he came around pretty quickly.

We knew we had crossed the finish line before the 34:00 mark, and shortly after we got home the official results appeared in my inbox – 33:44. I was psyched. The odd thing, however, was that RaceWire gave me an average pace of 10:51, which was significantly higher than the 10:22 average MapMyRun gave me (my MapMyRun final time is over 34 minutes because it took me quite a while to remember I had to “pause my workout”). Ah well. The 33:44 part is what matters, and both averages are under 11:00, so I’m happy!

During the race, I had another “I love running” revelation. I love when courses loop back on themselves and the runners at the back of the pack get to see the eventual-winners zoom by us going the other way. We all clap and whoop and yell encouragement. Runners are so friendly, at least pack runners… it’s like we’re all in it together. In the race today, one of the early finishers ran back towards the rest of us, just to cheer us on and make us feel awesome. Running races continues to trump getting shoved around and glared at and having my ankles kicked during rec-league soccer games, and I don’t see that changing. I may have found my sport at last!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s