We're getting close to the end of June, which means I need to participate in a race of some sort to keep up with my one event per month goal as part of my 34 Things. My co-worker had told me about this trail run that she was planning on doing. Emphasis on run. I combed the website but there was no time limit that I could see. Okay, then. My first official purely walking race in several years.
I lined up with all the other 10Kers and felt like a fraud. I was not going to run any bit of this race. But since it was on a trail, rather than a road, it wouldn't matter when I finished. Right? And then I saw the sign that said this was going to be a 5K, 10K or 30K race. Woohoo!! I may not be the last person on the course. I will get lapped but I should be able to finish a 10K before even super fast runners finish a 30K. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. (Turns out there was no one doing the 30K but it definitely gave me a psychological boost.)
The race started off with a steep uphill. Oh great. But I actually passed a few people on my way up the hill! That didn't last too long and before you knew it I was last. I have this big fear of being the last person on the course. Looks like I was going to face my fear today.
The trail was fairly muddy so there was a lot of zig-zagging to avoid the mud and the mud puddles. I kept my eyes down so I could navigate between the tree roots and the mud. So that's pretty much how the race went - up, down, avoid the mud puddle, watch out for horse poop, mud puddle, horse. Wait, horse? Yup, horse! Nice horsey. I kept to the side of the trail as I passed the horse. There was one close call with a tree. I was grabbing a hold of a tree to help me around a mud puddle when I smacked into the tree! My shirt had gotten caught. But I stayed on my feet. Yay!
I was alone for most of the race, except when the 10K route intersected with the 5K route. From about mile 3 on I was basically on a walk in the woods by myself. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It was very peaceful, when I took my eyes of the trail! :) I finally hit mile 6 and the rest of the course was mainly downhill. As I rounded the corner towards the finish, I saw the remaining volunteers packing up. Yup, last one on the course. But when they saw me, they cheered. I love cheers! Even if they are pity cheers for the last person.
My goal was to come in under 1:40 and I'm super happy to say I came in at 1:39:26! Which is just over a 16 minute per mile pace. Hallelujah!! (Disney race pace is 16 minutes per mile.) I still have 6 months (give or take) to improve on my time. Ideally I would like to get under 15 minutes per mile. And there is always hope my physical therapist will okay me to run!
And I learned something else from the posted times - there were 2 people behind me. I wasn't last!