Racing season has officially begun!
Runners tend to disagree on when the season officially starts. Some say as soon as the weather gets nice out. May-ish for those in 4 season states. Others say September is the official start because that is when the PR’s happen. Personally, I thrive in the fall. The weather is cooler, the scenery is more vibrant, and it is easier to get your run in without worrying about the thermometer.
Sunday I tackled my first race since May. My training was a little rocky until July but since then I have been putting in some steady miles. I figured a nice, easy, 5K was a great start to the fall.
Then I remembered. I am a distance runner. I hate 5Ks.
(No offense to the Shea’s 5K, which was awesome. Great food, great course, and awesome price. No complaints at all!)
I found myself hating life only about three-quarters of a mile in. Then a lovely woman ran up to me and said, “You can tell you know what you’re doing, your stride is perfect!” I laughed and said she was the sweetest thing. But you know….it got me through that mile. Some time later I took a walk break (I try to listen to my intervals but it is tough during a race when you don’t want to look slow).
Towards the end of my break, I felt someone loop their arm through mine. “Come on girl lets go!” She yelled as I ran to keep up with my arm. I heard her friend laughing so I said, “You got it” and decide to keep up with them. Two perfect strangers who just dropped into my race with a friendly smile and a “you go girl” attitude. Exactly what I needed. We spent the next mile or so chatting and trying to forget that we were running.
That is why I love racing. The course turns strangers into friends. Average people become cheerleaders. We cease to be runners on the lonely road and become a community. A living, breathing unit spanning multiple miles, ages, skill levels, and walks of life. Meeting new people is one of my favorite parts about racing.
They finished the race a little ahead of me but waited so they could give me a high five. I couldn’t stick around much so I made sure to hand out my SunRype bars before I hit the road. It was great to finally race in the SunRype gear and represent my team! I can’t wait until Saturday…..the Mighty Niagara Half Marathon awaits!