November 24, 2011
I woke up early today to put the ham in the oven and prepare my last pie for our Thanksgiving Feast. I also had my Pikes Peak YMCA Turkey Trot 5k race. I say my race because I killed it today! As soon as me, Patrick, and our fan club pulled into the parking lot, I saw that this was a much larger race than I expected. My October 5k, the Creepy Crawl had a comfortable 300 runners or so.
My goal for today was to improve my last 5k time of 44:25 by one minute, which was the fastest I have ever been. I realize that my “fast” time would be disappointing to many but it is exhilarating for me to know how far I have come. As we walked to registration, I was happy to see what appears to be a wide variety of runners; young girls and boys with their families, young adults, parents, and several grandparents too. Many families were running this race together, so I decided right then to drag my entire crew here next year.
I read on the race website that they would have chip timing at this race. What that was, I had no idea, but I found out it is a wonderful invention. After I stood in line for at least 10 minutes, we were given our race shirt, goodie bag, and a square piece of plastic with four small holes in the corner. I shyly ask what the square was for and was told this was my chip, an electronic device that records my start and finish time exactly when I cross the line. The holes were to zip tie the chip to my shoe.
There were nearly 3,000 runners at this race, so we were told to line up where our pace marker was. I found the seven minute mile pace marker, then the eight, and kept walking farther away from the start line. I finally saw the ten minute marker, expecting to see my marker of 11 minutes, but right after ten was a marker for “walkers.” Ugh, I felt my stomach drop. I run so slow that I am in the same wave as the walkers. So I decide to stand just between the 10 minute and the walker marker.
When the air horn went off, I was suddenly clausterphobic. People were everywhere and some as close as my elbows. Thankfully as we crossed the start line, we were able to spread out some. Although the day started out to be a chilly 35 degrees, it was a beautiful sunny day. I had started my own stop watch and was surprised to see my time at 14 mintes at the half way point. My race was going very well. Feeling a little tired at mile two, I walked for a minute to catch my breath.
This route had more hills than I was used to. At last, I see the finish line and the clock reads 40 and counting. This was a fabulous time for me and my adrenline kicked in. I booked the last one quarter mile and was smiling at my family and pleased with my time of nearly 41 minutes as I crossed the finish line. I talked with my father, who is also a runner, and he encouraged me and said that with just a little more training he thought I could break 40 minutes in my next race.
After gathering our free food and drinks, we made our way home to check on the ham. Just before we left for dinner at my sister’s house, I checked the YMCA website and find out my placing. I was schocked at how much more accurate the chip timing was. My actual chip time was 39:48. I did it! I was under 40 minutes AND got a PR (Personal Record) that knocked 4:37 off! So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a number of things: my family, my job, my opportunies, and my health. The rest of the day was a blur for me because I kept pinching myself, expecting to wake up from my dream of shattering my PR.