My relationship with running lately has not been the greatest. I have been slacking with exercise period, definitely feeling some winter blues, and having a hard time with some major changes in my life. In the last couple of years things have changed so drastically and I find myself saying every single year… “If you had told me a year ago that this would be true, I would have laughed at you.” This year the feeling is more sad. It’s been tough. And I’m trying to keep my head up. One of the ways that I’ve always been able to pick myself back up is by running, especially with friends, and I am so glad that I was able to do that this weekend.
I have been trying to decide on a November race for a while now. Up until a few month ago I had planned on doing the Silver Bells 5k again, and when those plans changed I felt pretty lost. There were local races going on but I wasn’t able to do them because of other plans. I wanted to do a turkey trot, but none of them were convenient to our plans for Thanksgiving this year – or they were just more expensive than what I wanted to pay for a race right now.
Then earlier this week I saw a post on our internal work website that there were complimentary registrations available for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) Reindeer 5k. I asked my friends that are coaches if many people from the community participated and whether or not Ken would be the only guy there if he decided to run it, and they were very encouraging of us to run the race! As I found out more, I realized that it was a very fun and festive run, exactly what I needed.
I had no plans of getting a PR or even pushing myself. In fact up until the night before the race I had planned on just having fun. Then of course my husband (who had to work and wasn’t able to run with me) told me that he knew I would do awesome and get a PR! I laughed and reminded him that I was in pretty peak condition when I got my PR, and that I definitely didn’t feel capable of running sub 10 minute miles. But then… I thought… well… maybe…
We arrived at the race after a bit of confusion and found our friends that were running the race as coaches. Jenny and I decided to move to the front of the race where the rest of the community participants were waiting and found ourselves among a very small group of people with lots of speedy runners! Definitely the set up for me to try to push myself, let me say that! We said hi to our fellow running group buddies and not long after we were off. We started the race at a pretty good clip, probably close to 9 minute miles. When I looked my watch and saw we were going to hit the half mile mark in less than 5 minutes, I thought, hmmm… better chill out a bit. So we started to do run/walk intervals. Jenny is a heck of a lot faster than me so I was really pushing myself to keep up with her. I had decided that I didn’t think I would get a PR today, but I wanted to push myself to see where I was at, and then work to improve with the winter races coming up over the next few months. We hit the one mile mark at a 9:53 pace.
The course is pretty flat with the exception of Hoyt Park, which is very familiar territory as many of the races in Saginaw that I have run are on similar courses. Our second mile was a 10:33 pace and we hit 3 miles at a 10:26 pace. We started a walk interval right at mile 3 and approached the final tenth of a mile. The finish of the race is a sidewalk (a little tricky if you want to try to pass someone!) so when we hit the sidewalk, Jenny and I sprinted for the finish. I ended up with an official time of 31:55, almost spot on with my watch time of 31:53 for 3.11 miles.
After the race we hung around for a little while, checking out the gingerbread houses made to look like local landmarks and warming up with hot cocoa. We had lunch together at a local restaurant before calling it a day. My November race may not have gone exactly as I had planned, but it worked out just the way it was supposed to. I am so lucky that I have so many local running friends and that we have such a great running community here with local races to support different causes. This is a race that I will definitely plan on doing again in the future!