Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA 5K Recap

October 24, 2011 § 1 Comment


I’ve ran several 5Ks since I started running nearly four years ago. I refer to them as “runs” because I’ve never really thought of them as a race for me. I know my limits and I know that I am not fast enough to keep up with the leaders. I am a middle-of-the-pack runner and that works for me. I still go out there with a goal for each event, but they are realistic. Placing in a race is not realistic for me… until this weekend.

I have participated in the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA event for a few years now, but I have done the half marathon instead of the 5K. The new half marathon course, which was implemented last year, is tough (see my recap of my experience with it), was something that I didn’t feel up to tackling again so I decided to join Jake for the 5K. I’ve ran 5Ks at South Mountain before, but the hills going out were a bit tougher than I remembered. Knowing that I had a long 16-miler the next day, I told myself to just relax and have a good run.

The field was small (293 runners) which meant there was plenty of space to do your own thing and not worry about dodging around other runners. I found a woman who looked like she was about my age, build, etc. and her pace was right on target with mine so I decided to use her as my motivation to keep up the pace on the killer hills, which are not my strong suit. I could feel myself starting to lose steam going into the turnaround and I could see the gap between us getting bigger. Then, as if she spent all of her energy getting up the hills, she lost it on the down hill and I passed her.

My effort was higher than a casual fun run, but it didn’t feel overly stressed. I saw Jake on my way back down, we exchanged a high five and then went back to it. I just kept going and passed more and more runners heading into the final stretch. As I crossed the finish line, I had no idea that I had put myself into 3rd place for my age group (out of 46 women). I have never placed in a race, so I have to admit that I was excited. Was I super fast? No. Would I stand a chance at larger races? Most likely not. But instead of belittling my “accomplishment” with those types of thoughts, I’m going to revel in the fact that I earned my first medal at a race. Here’s to all you middle-of-the-pack runners out there. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s for you.

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