Saturday morning was race day at Stately Wasser Manor, with my running a 5K and Jack running the 1/2 mile kids' race for Run for Renewal, a fundraiser for a charity called Project Renewal that helps at-risk kids. The Cub and I fueled up with a carb-tastic breakfast of doughnuts, then crew leader Steve drove us to the race. It was a beautiful day - cool, with not a cloud in the sky.
Jack's race was first, and he could not have been more excited. Steve asked if they could please run together, since Jack got to run with me at his last race. I grabbed the video camera and found a spot along the course with fellow race crew members Grandma and Grandpa so we could cheer. Steve reported that Jack followed his surge/relent/surge pattern throughout the entire 1/2 mile. Apparently even splits are not a goal that a five year old aspires to. When the race was over, Jack scored a frisbee and a coloring book. He was absolutely thrilled with himself, and I was proud of him too, especially seeing the big smile on his face as he sprinted to the finish.
I had never done Run for Renewal before, but saw the course described as "a couple of hills, but mostly flat." No problem, especially because I've been training on hills. I took off, with the goal of running comfortably hard and besting my most recent 5K time of 26:20 at the St. Patrick's Day 5K.
About half a mile into the race, we hit a wicked hill, just ridiculously steep. Spectators stood at the top, encouraging us, and saying that with this hill, the hardest part was over. Good, because that? Was not easy. Then I looked ahead and saw that those spectators had a different idea of what the hardest part might be than I did: another hill, not quite as vertically steep, but probably a quarter of a mile long. I powered through it.
The course wove through some more neighborhoods. Entertainment was provided by two women who lived on the course and yelled back and forth across the street together wondering what the hell all of these people were doing running down their road and that if it didn't stop soon, they would be calling the police.
I knew that the course formed a big loop, so I figured that the uphill would be followed at some point by a really sweet downhill. Sure enough, there was one, but then about half a mile from the finish line, inexplicably, there was another uphill. Gah!
Finally, I turned a corner. In my sights were not only the finish line, but also my race crew - and a guy I could potentially pass. We all know that no matter what, I would have done my best to chick that dude into the finish line, but with my family watching? That guy had no chance. I zipped past him for a strong finish of 25:45.
My splits were pretty good:
Mile 1: 8:25
Mile 2: 8:46 (apparently I was tired from those hills)
Mile 3: 8:07
Last little .1: 0:27 (5:44 pace, baby)
I will definitely run this race again. 5Ks are usually pancake flat, so I liked having the challenge of the hills. And I'm sure Jack would be happy to run for another frisbee.