I signed up for this race on the spur of the moment. It's a very small race put on for a local festival. I really didn't think I'd do one so soon after the Runnin' With the Devil's race just last week. But my two oldest came home from Cross Country practice with race entries for this one. I thought it would be nice to run in the same race as my kids, especially my son who I've yet to share a race with. Alas, by the time I crossed the finish line, they were both off on their cool down run, so it was not the shared event I had hoped for.
Now, when I say small, I mean small-small. There were 116 participants and that includes the 5K walkers as well. I knew that with such a small field I had a very good chance of being DFL. And I was, among the runners, placing 95th. I'm trying to come to terms with that. No one is really OK with being last. I came in at 48:14 (my watch said 47 minutes and change...but oh well). So I did meet my secondary goal of staying under 50 minutes (my first goal not being DFL). I also met my tertiary goal of keeping to my 4/2 run/walk strategy (and in a moment, you'll understand why that was a real accomplishment).
The course is a loop type course, meandering through town through residential and business areas. Through one section of the race, we ran on gravel, then grass, for a nice change of pace. The course is a challenge because of the Crystal Valley Hill. Actually much of the course is uphill, though not as dramatically as the CVH. The CVH is to this race as the Heartbreak Hill is to Boston. Or at least that's how I imagine it. It occurred at the first half mile, going up 80(ish) feet in less than a quarter mile. And it sets the tone for the rest of the course. It wiped me out. I knew on that hill that I was going to be DFL.
But not all was lost. In a refreshing change of pace, I had a fellow runner join me on that hill. She told me I had been her target and her inspiration as she caught up to me. She had recently lost her husband to cancer and we talked for quite a bit for about a half mile, walking and running according to my 4/2 plan. She soon ran ahead though, but never more than a few blocks. And she'd turn around every so often and wave and shout "Come on! We can do this!" Compared to my experiences at other races, this was heaven sent encouragement. We met at the awards ceremony and exchanged names and pleasantries. It was a great connection to make.
So, between the CVH and the end, there isn't too much to report. It was just a good, hard run. Coming into the homestretch, though, was heart warming. Even though the kids' teams were off doing their cool down, their parents had stuck around to see me in. I believe I was the only team parent in the race and their encouragement at the end made me smile and feel good about the whole race, even if I was DFL.
I want to take a moment here at the end to share a little bit about my friend Christy. She and I were in high school together and, like many high school friends, parted ways soon after. We reconnected on Facebook where I was able to keep in touch and follow along on a debilitating condition she suffers from. I don't know or understand what the condition is. I just know that she is subject to faints and falling. And I know she has struggled with this, as it has made a "normal" life difficult.
Last spring, she made the decision to get healthy again. She began walking and is now up to 6 miles a day. She's lost weight. And, if I may be so bold, from her Facebook updates, she seems happier and, well, just excited about life.
One of the goals she made in the spring was to "do" a 5K by August. She walked today, up the Crystal Valley Hill and everything. She shared on FB about her tears at the end, having accomplished a very big goal. I am so proud of her and so so so very happy to have shared a little bit that joy she felt.
Nicely done, Christy, nicely done indeed.