It’s been awhile since I’ve run an open road race, so it seemed pretty fitting that Zulu Racing’s Big Pumpkin Run 5k was the race that pulled me out of non-triathlon foot races. Fitting because this was the event that hooked me into endurance sports 3 years ago.
This was my first road race I’d ever run, and it was on my 20th birthday four months to the day from the miracle of walking out of the hospital after my coma. I had started running as a way to clear my head and actually focus through the white-noise that was my mind after my wreck. I’m not really sure how I birthed the idea to switch from just running to racing, but I’m sure it’s because I’ve always been competitive. Uncoached and…let’s just say uneducated in these sports I’m immersed in now…I was running moderately hard every day. *I may have gained a few twinges and tweaks from the lack of rest, but that’s not important right now* I somehow talked my mother into running it too, and she’s not a runner even though at this point she’s finished three 13.1 events and a few 5k races at this point. So my very first race morning came, and I learned what race nerves were. But with resolve, and knowing that there would be bathrooms, we went to the starting line. A quiet prayer while waiting to start, and the gun went off. I pushed that first race, and didn’t even know what pacing was, but even with a diminishing pace, I finished in 24:35, and 3rd in my AG. Ok…it wasn’t a huge race, but that finish grew into a passion that’s led me to my current place in sport.
So returning to the race this past weekend was a little sentimental. Even so, I wanted to race it, and so I checked out finish times from the recent years…. The race had grown a little, the top 20 being well under 19minutes. WE-E-E-LL then. Just more fuel to the fire; right? Race morning came, and with another internal prayer and thank you, the race began. I don’t remember the hills from four years ago, but I living in Georgia you learn to love hills or you don’t run. So I pushed, and welcomed the quiet that occupies my head while I race. 20:12 later, I finished the loop. I don’t know where that came from, though my Coach wasn’t surprised, but I was happy to set a 5k PR in my AVIA Bolt IIIs back where it all started. Not a podium finish, but 4/24 AG, 38/970 OA. For some perspective…the OA winner ran a 14:50. And I mentioned this was a hilly course; right? *I’m investigating rocket pack use*