As I've said before, this is one of my favorites because it's always my anniversary race. (8 years!) I love going back to it year after year with lighter shoes and a faster pace. Besides the nostalgic aspect of it, it's a beautiful course with some of the friendliest volunteers and course marshals I've seen.
This year the race was extra special for a couple of reasons. First of all, my 5th grade nephew Luka ran his first 5K. He and I ran together over the summer to get ready for it. It was so exciting to see him cross the finish line with Brian. Yes with Brian! For the first time Brian ran this race, too! This is one of those races that I usually go to by myself but because he ran it with Luka, he was there to see me cross the finish line.
I actually had a lot of people there to see me finish. Because Luka ran his 5K, his parents and siblings were there. The event was also a target race for RUNdetroit Flight Club so there were lots of friends at the end. Most of them had already finished the 5K so they were there to cheer me on.
Definitely the most special part, however, was that I raced with my friend and RUNdetroit teammate Sarah. Every step of the way.
I hadn't planned on doing this race with Sarah. She texted me the day before, saying she was going to sign up and would pace me for it. Sarah wanted to help me get a PR. I'm going to be honest here. I FREAKED. All these thoughts went through my head:
- I don't need help. I just want to run my own race.
- She's faster than I am! Why is she slowing down to run with me?!
- I'm not fast enough. What if I let her down?
- I can't run that fast right now. It's not in my wheelhouse.
- I can't. I can't. I can't.
Thankfully Sarah knows me and knew I was freaking out. All my crazy texts just rolled off her (at least I hope they did!). I woke up in the morning with a calm mind and a fresh, positive perspective. I realized that even though Sarah is faster than I am, pacing me WAS the race she wanted to run. And the reason I was freaking out is because I was lacking confidence. I was about to step outside of my comfort zone and that's scary. It was time to be bold. But I needed Sarah to help me.
Brian and I got to the race at 7:00 for parking and packet pickup. There was Sarah. We hugged and everything was okay. We had a long time before our race at 9:00! Plenty of time for multiple port-a-potty stops (which are always clean and have short wait times at this race). We did a 2-mile warm-up with our friend Leamon and then finally took off our long sleeves and headed over to the start.
As I said, Sarah and I ran the whole race together. We chatted (she did more talking than I did) for the first 4.5 miles. We waved to and thanked all the spectators and volunteers. It was nice to catch up on life because we haven't seen each other as much lately as in the past. I'm pretty sure we annoyed the men that we were passing along the way, seeing how easily we were talking and laughing. But hey, we were having fun!
Around 3.75 miles in, Sarah commented that she really wanted to catch a guy ahead of us. She could tell he was fading but I didn't think I had it in me to run any faster. At the 4-mile marker she asked about pace. I was happily surprised to see and shouted, "That's PR pace!" It was a nice boost and I realized we'd nearly closed the gap between us and the dude ahead. We rounded a corner and got closer. We could hear him breathing. He was checking his Garmin constantly. This was it. Sarah stopped talking, we pushed the pace just a hair, and we chicked him.
I felt really strong for the rest of that mile but the last mile was harder. I felt like I was going to puke. Sarah must have noticed (or maybe I told her) because she started talking again to help keep me going. At some point she told me that when we got to the finish line she was going to let me go first. I said no, we needed to finish together. I couldn't have done it without her. Whatever happens happens. So that's what we did. Photo finish.
We tied. 40:27 for us both. They gave me first and her second, though I'm not sure how that was decided. My award was a gift certificate to Massage Envy. I gave it to Sarah because she deserves it, earned it, and never treats herself to massages.
Oh, and I got my PR! I couldn't have done it without Sarah. It's good to have a friend who believes in you when you don't believe in yourself. That's what teamwork is all about.
Banana, CLIF Mojo - Peanut Butter Pretzel
And this guy always believes in me. Thanks, Brian.