Outstanding in our field

The sun peeked over the horizon and temps were in the 50s as we drove to the park for our first 5K of 2014. It was a perfect morning for a race.

We arrived a little early and were treated to a sea of bluebonnets blanketing the field next to the trail. So like good Texans, we snapped the obligatory bluebonnet pictures.

Outstanding in the field

Outstanding in the field

Last year, the Tri Doc 5K was a tiny costume race–maybe thirty people–that B ran on his own. It was the week before the Cleveland half marathon and I didn’t want to aggravate my left calf, which had been giving me allllll kinds of trouble. I cheered him on as he placed second in his age group. This year, Rogue sponsored the race, which benefits Marathon High, a running program for at-risk teens. As a result, turnout was much higher–lots of my Rogue friends had signed up too. M had the injury this time, so instead of racing, he brought his camera and became the unofficial race photographer, staking out a great spot near the start/finish line. Thus B and I were tasked with upholding the family’s honor amid a field of about 100 runners.

I’ve been training hard all winter and had an ambitious time goal in mind; B wanted to run his first sub-30 minute race.

And we’re off! Photo via The Tri Doc.

The course was an out-and-back along Brushy Creek Trail, a location I’ve run a gazillion times. The first section had gotten a bit muddy due to a weird hailstorm that hit last night, but otherwise it’s mostly flat with a wide sidewalk, a really nice route.

I have a tendency to start off too fast, but if I had any chance of reaching my time goal, I needed to start fast-for-me and maintain it throughout the whole race. I held it for the first mile. So far, so good. During the second mile, I started seeing the super-fast runners on the way back–that’s always a bit demoralizing, but I focused on looking for B. He’s capable of a sub-30 minute 5K, but without his dad to pace him and motivate him, he faced something of a challenge. When I passed him going the other way, though, he was running hard and looked strong. I guessed he was three or four minutes ahead of me, but I couldn’t really gauge how close either of us was to our goals. We high-fived and kept going.

I made the turnaround knowing the next half-mile would be the toughest stretch because I couldn’t afford to slow down. A couple of small hills that don’t seem like much could be the difference for me, time-wise. I skipped the water stop both coming and going for the same reason.

The third mile was pretty flat. By now I knew I had success in my sights, and I just kept visualizing the finish line’s race clock, the subsequent fist pump of achievement. I kicked it up a notch. Around the curve, under the highway, back on the muddy trail. I spotted B standing off to the side. I high-fived him on the run, and then I saw the race clock.

Home stretch

He makes me look like a slacker, but I was really only about four minutes behind him!

I finished with a PR of more than three minutes, beating my ambitious goal by more than a minute. And B met his sub-30 minute goal by about 30 seconds. He even placed third in his age group!

I know his 29:xx finish is just barely adequate for a lot of runners, let alone my 34-minute one. But we think our performances were pretty outstanding.

Next week: the Capitol 10K. Can we PR that race too?


8 thoughts on “Outstanding in our field

    • Thanks! I keep telling B that running is great conditioning for lacrosse–some of the bigger kids on his team can’t run around the circumference of the field, but he’s out there trotting along behind the coach, no problem, thanks to our family running! He complained a lot before the race, but he was pretty pleased with himself afterwards. Too bad M is injured–he’s going to miss the Cap 10K next week too. This will be the first time we’re NOT all three running that race together–boo.


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