It’s good to be a winner

Last night I ran in the Harvest Hustle 5K over in Baldwin Park, Orlando.  This is  my third year running in this race, and I finished with a time of 22 minutes, which made me number one in my division.  Three time legacy, three time winner!

The award is a glass pint cup, which doesn’t seem like much in the way of bling.  But the feeling you get from winning a race more than makes up for it.  I wasn’t number one overall.  I was in the top 10% of finishers for the 3.1 mile run, which had over 300 participants.

But that’s what I like about small local races.  I should have worn a costume, because it was a Halloween run, but maybe I dressed up like a winner?  Or a good runner?

Anyway this was one of my best times in a 5K, and knocked almost 3 minutes off my time from year 1.  Of course year 1 was my first year running seriously, but that just goes to show that with practice you get better.  I may not be able to race the 17 year old who won in 16 minutes, but I can keep up with some of the guys who’ve been running for 20 years.

One of my co-workers ran her first 5K ever, and finished in 45 minutes.  She kept saying how long it took her to finish and I kept reminding her that she did finish.  By the end of the evening, she was ready for her next race and wanted to knock 5 minutes off her time.  That’s how to set real goals in running.  Just plan to knock a little bit off each time and keep at it.

Runners run.  And sometimes runners win.  And both feel pretty darn good.

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The Night before…

Top of the World

I’m always just a little anxious the night before a race. I know I’m supposed to take it easy and rest, I should carb up and get everything ready. But I can never go to bed when I’m supposed to. Even though I know I need to be up at 5AM for an hour drive over to the coast, I still can’t go to sleep before 11PM.
I think about the run, the traffic, what I’m doing after, if I’ll know anyone there. My mind revolves around a million little things, as the mind is supposed to do, I suppose. I think about how I spent the day, taking my young daughter to a corn maize and watching her play in the kid area. She didn’t care much for the maize maze, we spent perhaps twenty minutes roaming around. But the farm had a bounce pillow, a giant sixty foot vinyl balloon set in the ground that she wanted to conquer for an hour. I highly recommend any race director who wants to increase the kid count at a race after party to toss one down. This thing was packed, and if it had been adult sized, I would have hopped for an hour too.
Kid’s are pretty amazing. Tristan told me she wanted to run a race with me today, as only an earnest seven year old can. She outlined how we would train, and where, at a run path around a lake not too far from our home, and suspiciously near an ice cream store we frequent. Hmmm.
I’m going to sign us up for a 5K in December, and we’ll run it together, as slow as she likes. Maybe she’ll come to love running the way I do, though for different reasons.
When we’re kids, we exercise as play. I watched her and a dozen others race around a tire field, swing across monkey bars, jump, run and bounce and realized that the obstacle course running craze sweeping the nation right now is exactly what they were doing. Just for fun.
Maybe as we grow up, we kind of forget how much fun playing can be. Maybe it’s not the adult thing to do, playing. But running at any age can kind of be like playing. That old competitive spirit popping up, smiling, laughing and just running along without a care in the world. Trying to be first, to be king of the hill, to finish.
I’ll sleep on that tonight. My running plan tomorrow is to smile. It’s going to hurt, and I like it, and when you like something you should smile. Now that’s a thought to drift off too…