Last Saturday I ran in a fun race in Harvey’s Lake, PA. It was a very random distance – 8.2 miles – because the course went the whole way around the lake.
I got to the race with plenty of time to spare since it was a very unfamiliar area for me. Packet pick-up was a little chaotic, but the volunteers were doing a good job dealing with the crowds. Luckily for those runners who got there on the later side, there were enough people on hand to pass out t-shirts and bib numbers, there were lots of port-a-johns, and the race officials even held the start for a few minutes to allow everyone to finish registering and get ready to run. That’s the beauty of running a smaller race, I think!
After a lovely rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner with the local color guard, the race got right underway.
Once again, I started at the near-back of the pack. (Must remember to move up a bit at the start…) I cruised along, listening to my music and enjoying the scenery. The aid stations were before miles 2, 4, and 6, which was a good way to mentally break up the run. This clown (yes, an actual clown) was at one of them.
I know there was a story here. I just don’t know what it was! But she was cheering everyone on and giving out high fives, which was great!
At another point I spotted this shirt on a fellow runner and told him how much I liked it. Enough that I kind-of-creepily took a picture of it. Oh, well.
“It never gets easier, you just get better.”
I was pretty happy to just run along, focusing on how I felt rather than how on my pace or how I was matching up compared to anyone else. Between mile 6 and 7, though, I decided that I could definitely finish faster than a few of the people ahead of me. I passed them one at a time and kept on going, only to have one of them pass me shortly after that.
I ran behind this similarly-paced runner until around mile 7.5, which is when I decided to just go for it. I don’t often compare my running to anyone else’s but I thought pushing myself to go a little faster would be really beneficial mentally and physically, whether I ended up finishing before the other runner or not. I surprised myself by hanging on with (what felt like) a much faster pace for the last 1/2-mile plus. I finished the run quicker than I thought I would – my per mile pace was more than half-a-minute faster than it was for my half-marathon the week before. Guess pushing myself was worth it! 🙂
To top it all off, there were pancakes for everyone at the end. It was a nice way to end a great run.