2017 Lead the Way 5K Recap

Happy Monday! Today I want to recap the Lead the Way 5K that I participated in last weekend.

It was a beautiful day for a run – not too hot, not too sunny, and very breezy! The race started at 1:00 p.m., so I had all morning to relax and hydrate. I even made a peanut butter & jelly smoothie (my recent obsession…these taste JUST like the pb&j milkshakes from 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios!)!

I spent the morning watching Gilmore Girls, cuddling with my puppy, and stretching. Then, it was time to go!

I got to the race location (Messiah College) at 12:00 p.m., picked up my packet, and began stretching. My sister was staying with us this weekend, so she decided to come and cheer me on!

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She looks older than me, but, in fact, she’s 7 years younger!

While I was one of the first few runners there, other runners and walkers quickly began to arrive. I was starting to get nervous, which is typical for me during pre-race festivities. I tried to remain focused on my goal: a PR. Out of all of the 5Ks I’d run, I still hadn’t beaten my first 5K time. That was my goal for this race…I was running alone and had been training hard.

Before I knew it, it was time to line up. The race coordinators asked that fast runners move to the front, average runners move to the middle, and slower runners/walkers move to the back. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of the fastest runners there (I never am), but I really didn’t know where to stand in comparison to other runners because I’d never seen their pace! I found an open spot towards the middle-front, and I settled in. With less than one minute to go, I did some deep breathing and got myself mentally ready. Then, the announcer shot his gun and we were off!

I tried to not start off too fast so that I could ensure that I would run the entire time, but people were weaving passed me on both sides. After running around the field of the athletic complex, we made our way to the trails….where we were met with hill after hill. The first few weren’t too bad, but as soon as I got to the .53 mark, I started to question if my goal was too lofty. I put my head down and tried to focus on breathing and keeping my feet moving.

Before I knew it, we were passing the first mile marker. Only 2.1 to go! The next mile was uphill and it was nearly impossible to keep up my pace. At that moment, I decided that I just wanted to finish the race and throw my PR goal out the window. I kept breathing and carried on. Miles 1.2-2.65 were a blur. I remember the hills, but everything else sort of ran together.

Finally, at mile 2.65, I could see the finish line. I started sprinting because I honestly just wanted to be done. The crowd (although small) became louder and I could see my sister at the finish! I crossed the finish line and immediately started walking – I was so exhausted! I was proud of myself for giving it my all, but I also was a little bummed that this race proved harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t want to look at my watch because I knew it would make me feel like a failure. Instead, I decided to make my way to the water tub.

Then, out of nowhere, the race coordinator came up to me and said, “Great race! Under 25!”

Wait…what did he say? Under 25?!?!

I quickly ran over to the results table to check my time. 24:49! An almost 2-minute PR!! I also got 1st in my age group (femailed under 29), 2nd in my gender, and 8th overall!

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I immediately forgot how exhausted I was and gave my sister a big hug! I did it! We decided to get celebratory sundaes to celebrate on the way home!

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Reeser’s the best!

This was definitely the hardest race I’ve ever done, and I’m so happy that I was able to finish and accomplish my goal. When the toughness settles in, I’ll always remember this moment and know that I WILL get through it!

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