In which I fail to kick ass or take names...
There were several reasons for me to run the Imagination Library 5K (a race that took place nearly two weeks ago, thus making me hugely late with this race report). I hadn't raced since the Distance Classic and I don't like to go too far between races, especially when there are so many to choose from in the spring. There was a kids' race, and it would be fun if Jack and I both raced. It was a pretty day. It's in my running club's race circuit and I really, really want to win an award again like I did last year. But the most important reason was this:
I really needed a run.
An incredibly busy week of work had me burning the midnight oil, then waking up early to burn the... morning oil? My candle burned at both ends, it would not last the night, but oh my foes and oh my friends, it made a lovely light. Poorly executed metaphors and literary references aside, I was working my ass off, and consequently had not been running in a week. I needed to get out there, open it up, and feel the burn.
Steve, Jack, and I arrived at Bass Street Landing, a lovely area in downtown Moline overlooking the Mississippi. Jack was thrilled at the contents of his goody bag, which included the usual t-shirt, plus an assortment of random stuff that will please a 5-year old - a ruler, pencils, a bookmark, and a sticker. He was even more happy to see that they were setting up a bounce house. I got warmed up and the boys found a good spot to watch the race.
I blazed through the first mile way too fast. At my next 5K (probably the June Bug Jog because - you guessed it, it's in the circuit), I swear to Yoda I am going to make myself run a negative split. Once again in this race, I completely killed the first mile, then faded. Not helping matters, I started having stomach cramps, motivating me to pick up the pace a bit just so I could be done. That's never a good sign.
I worked really hard in this race, and as I was approaching the finish line, really hoped that my efforts would be rewarded. A PR or an age group award would make my suffering justified. My finishing time? 25:10 - not nearly good enough for a PR (though my best time this spring, beating my time at Steve's Old Time Tap Spring Chaser by 34 seconds). Then I discovered that the age groups were in 10 year increments, not five, so I was in the 30-39 category. That put me sixth in my age group. I would have been second if it were 35-39, but that's not the way they gave awards at this race... and even if it had, they only gave out hardware to the first place winners in each age group. I consoled myself with a breakfast sandwich and a banana from the post-race spread.
Jack ran his 1/2 mile race in a state of utter delight. He grinned through the whole thing and triumphantly told me that he passed an 8-year old. Then he scored a finisher's medal and another goody bag, this one containing a great book. Post-race, Jack bubbled over with joy, talking about how much he loved running and wondering when his next race would be.
As always, I can learn from the little guy. If you look at the clock or at my place on the leader board, my race wasn't what I wanted. But was that what I wanted most? Nope. What I wanted most was to put on my shoes and run hard - and that's exactly what I did.