I completed my third 5K as of Saturday morning. I'm proud to say that in three months, I've shaved 3 minutes and 22 seconds off of my original race time and each race gets to be more and more fun. This one was particularly important for me as it was the first race that I didn't know anyone and decided to "go it alone" outside of the runners in my office. I was somewhat sad not to have a face that I knew in the group running with me, but at the same time it afforded me a glimpse at what can be, the opportunity to meet new and interesting people through this hobby that I've picked up.
The race snaked through downtown Birmingham on an early southern summer morning. It was cool, but humid, and the course had it's share of challenges (the oh so steady incline to get over the 22nd avenue bridge and my God the sun was bright on 2nd avenue south -I thought it would finally burn my eyes out of their sockets before I turned out of it). I found myself alone again for pretty much the whole thing except for the start, which is always packed. It's odd, but no matter what speed I run, I seem to be the only person running at that speed. I'm not in a pack of runners or a group of runners - EVER? I don't know if this is the result of an unrealized competitive issue, or if I am just so mediocre that I am neither good enough to be in the front nor bad enough to be in the back. Either way, I finished in better time than my last race and I felt proud. I do a lot of thinking and some praying and looking around during the race, but this one seemed to go faster because there was a lot to see. Downtown is so much fun...I wish I could run it more often. The smell of the bridge at Morris Ave wasn't so pleasant, but it was still fun to get an opportunity to run underneath a place that traditionally isn't safe to walk through either due to traffic or homeless people. As I ran past Morris Avenue, I remembered my encounter with the crazy giant of a woman in her red and white stripped shirt as I took black and white photos of downtown (in high heeled sandals no less, which made it very difficult to run you see?). What a memory of fear that never left me. I could probably still recognize her face today.
But I diverge...
The best part of the entire race is that my family was there to cheer me on. Mason and Clare got me on my way, then met me at the end. I love it because I realize in my more mature age that his encouragement is vital to my success. Also, I know seeing Mason marks the end of the challenge and I'm almost done. It's a great way to end something so personally rewarding for me.
so, I have no pictures from the event, but a lot of fun memories. I'm now looking for my July race and hoping to break through even more physical barriers with this one.