Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Race Report: Mustang Madness 5K

In which I survived the heat... kind of

Yep, I am way behind on my posting, and I need to get into what's going on, but I'd hate to leave out a race report!

A few weeks ago, determined to feel better about my unfortunate experience in Madison, I signed up for the Mustang Madness 5K. It was on a Friday evening, which is novel, but the biggest appeal was that it was a cross country race! Cross country is always way more fun than running on a road or track, so I eagerly signed up.

The night of the race, it was brutally hot and humid. I knew a PR was not in the cards for me. That instinct was cemented when I took a warm-up on the course and saw how hilly and challenging it was going to be. I always say that if I'm not going to run a good time, I might as well have a good time, so I set out to do just that.

All of us lined up on a big white line painted on the grass. I can't tell you how many times I found myself in that very position during high school cross country meets, and it was a thrill to do it again.

The course wound through trails in the woods, around sports fields, and back through the woods again. Although it was well staffed with volunteers, there were no mile markers, so I had no idea how far I'd run or how I was doing - especially because my beloved Paula Garmin was lost.

The hot weather really took a toll on me - and on my fellow runners as well. I saw plenty of people, including some who I knew were strong runners, taking walk breaks. I did the same, because just slowing down didn't seem like it would be enough. I even took advantage of the water stop, something I never do in a 5K. The water was cold and tasted amazing.

After what felt like an eternity, I emerged from the woods, finish line in sight. Finally! I kicked to the line, sure that I'd finish in around 30 minutes. I was surprised to see the number 27 on the clock. When I wasn't walking, I must have been running a lot faster than I'd realized.

After the race, people hung out, ate bananas, and generally talked about how challenging and sweaty the race was. It was tough, but I'd absolutely do it again.

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