I started running in the spring. I REALLY started running in the summer. And a hell of a summer it was. Record-breaking heat for days on end made for a tough few months to run and race — especially for a newbie. But I couldn't possibly have known all the good it was really doing me. All that running in the stifling, sweltering heat of the summer has made running in the recently cool temperatures feel SO GOOD.
Go ahead and click on that to make it a bit larger. You see that? 4th overall? And 1st in my age group?! And more important than either of those things — 27 minutes!!
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.
I ran a race last Saturday that I have waited all week to tell you about and I'm not sure why. Busy this, work that. Yada yada yada.
On top of the cooler temperatures lately, it outright stormed last Friday night and I was pretty sure I'd either be running in the rain Saturday morning or the race would be cancelled due to lightning and thunderstorms. But somehow I convinced Jeff and Colt to get up and go to Siloam Springs with me anyway. It's about 30 miles from our house so I was hoping we didn't get all the way over there for nothing, but as we drove we could see the storm clearing a bit and I was feeling better about the chances this race would actually happen.
I managed to rope my work friend Josh into running with me and we met him at packet pick-up. The 2nd Annual Tailwaggers 5K.
No rain. And it was nice and cool. PERFECT.
We lined up and were told there would be a "warm up" before the official start of the race.
The woman in the blue was in charge of said warm up. And I can honestly say this is the first race I've done that included organized, pre-race aerobics. You can't tell from the picture, but this lady led us in a mini Jazzercise session for about 5 minutes before the start. Josh and I couldn't quit giggling, but we seemed to be the only people confused by it. Everyone else just followed along. Strange, but I guess every little race wants to add their personal touch.
Anyway. Race time.
I've fallen into a bad habit of tearing out of the starting gate like a bat out of hell, and this race was no different. It's like this bubble of adrenaline that just bursts when I hear "GO". I didn't look at my watch much during that first mile, but I learned later on the computer it was easily the fastest mile I've ever run.
Look at that! Both feet off the ground!
Meanwhile, Colt set about entertaining himself on the soaking wet playground equipment at the cute little downtown Siloam Springs park.
(The race benefited the Siloam Springs Humane Society and there were dogs EVERYWHERE. Colt got this cute puppy pawprint balloon at check-in and didn't let it out of his sight until we got home.)
EVERY race should be held this close to a park for little guys. It was perfect.
Out on the course, I was having my best race ever. The weather was perfect, the course was great. I struggled during mile 3 with a pretty good hill, but I was so excited about my pace.
As I rounded the last corner I saw the crazy balloons marking the Finish Line. Only after heeding directions from Sylvester the Cat, of course.
And all of a sudden I had a running buddy! Colt and Jeff were clapping and waving, and Colt got brave enough to grab my hand and run the last few yards of the race with me. I LOVED IT.
And done! Little Guy helped me finish out the last few seconds of my fastest ever 5K! 27:00.9 and a new PR!
We played on the playground and said hello to all the dogs while we waited for race results. The sky was getting a bit darker, but still nothing but a few random sprinkles.
Finally! Results! Josh and I both had a great race and ended up winning our respective age groups. (He smoked me – and his previous best – with a time of 23 minutes!) It was a small race — sure — but first is first! And, like I said, I wouldn't have cared if I was dead last — I was THRILLED with my new personal best.
As things were wrapping up the sky opened up and finally poured. Fine by me! We were done running, and I was headed home for some lunch and a nice warm nap.
Overall, a quirky, little small town race — but a lot of fun. Thanks Tailwaggers! And I'm more excited than ever for the handful of races I've got coming up in the next six weeks — bring on the cool weather!