Ithaca 5 & 10, I’ll take the 5 Thank You.

IMG_8853 (1)When Scott and I started out running, we started out running 5K’s, and then quickly worked our way up to doing marathons.  After that, we took up triathlons.  So….when I finished up this school year overweight and out of shape, some goals had to change a little.  Only 3 triathlons this summer, and we backed off to the sprint distance, thinking, “Let’s cut back a little, get back in shape, and focus on doing a BETTER job on our races.”  As we got deeper into the summer, we decided committing to a few more races might “keep us honest” and help us stay motivated to keep our training going even though school is back in session.  So, we registered for a couple of things, including the 5 miler of the long-standing Ithaca 5 & 10.

The past couple of weeks, I kept thinking, “I wish I had signed up for the 10 miler.  I can slug out ten miles, and no one expects me to go TOO fast for that distance.  Running 5 miles, I think there are higher expectations!”

Trail running all summer has helped me lose some weight, get stronger, but I wasn’t sure about speed.  I went into the race with very modest hopes/ goals.   1.  I want to FINISH in ONE PIECE.  2.  It would be nice to run faster than I do on the hilly trails.  That’s about it.

When we checked in, I got friendly welcomes from FLRC “family”, including Shelly Marino.  She had kind words to say about “getting back into racing”, after experiencing my first DNF on a trail race a while ago.  So nice to have generous of heart friends.

So, we mulled about for a while, I chatted with Sarah Harrigan a bit, and we waited in the comfort of our warm car.  When we were 20 minutes before the start, we got out into a slight drizzle and warmed a bit.  YES!  We’ve turned into THOSE people that we used to scratch our heads about!  When we started running, we would see people running before the race, and didn’t quite understand why they would voluntarily extend their distance!  Now we know.  Old bones, joints and muscles need warming up!  (Well, so do young ones…)

We started to flock at the start, and I noticed quite a few headphones.  I tried to explain to folks that they could get DQ’d (disqualified) if they were seen running with headphones.  Some headed my warning, others shrugged their shoulders.  I don’t wish ill for people, but the Justice side of me hoped that they would get caught.

The start horn almost took me by surprise, but it didn’t make my heart leap–I felt rather calm.  I had positioned myself towards the back, and I searched my repertoire of paces to find one that was lively, but one I thought I could sustain for 5 miles.

Each intersection DID have volunteers there, just as promised.  Even though it was a road race, there were plenty of variations of texture:  roads scraped down for further paving, flat smooth asphalt, some concrete sidewalks, a patch of mud near the Youth Bureau.

I tried to gauge my speed by the mile splits, but I got confused with the multiple mile flags, meant for the various races underway.  So, I tried to listen closer to my breathing exertion. I felt strong in the first couple miles, and I know I started slipping into a fog around mile 3-4.  All the time, I tried to keep more on my toes.  It seems that slight uphill or fatigued times were when I fell more to flat-roll feet, but I self-coached myself out of it.  I headed into Stewart Park, and was so happy to see Scott there.  I wished we could high-5, but he looked like that wasn’t what he wanted right then, so I happily shouted, “I LOVE YOU!” Sarah Harrigan was just moments behind Scott.  She lamented, “I couldn’t keep up with him!”  I encouraged her, “He’s right up there!  He’s not too far away!”  I continued making my way around the park, nostalgically thinking about how we had run Pud’s Run here once upon a time.  Keep going.

As I approached the turn to head towards the campus (and closer to finishing) I spied Jenny Henion and Christina Luglan.  They were running together, and looked like they were just comfortably eating up the miles.  I said “Hi Jenny” and then a brain block kept me from getting the K of Christina out, and it took an extra attempt to send a greeting to her too.  Such a feeling of “duh” for me.

Once I made the turn, I could see the parking lot, the tennis courts, the high school building–I started to smell finish line!  Right then was when Katie Durrant sailed by, running the ten miler, and greeted me.  This is one of the things I love about races–it’s a reunion of our Running Family.

I got closer to the turn into the parking lot, and I tried to pick it up a little.  I searched my inventory–yup.  I had a quick sprint in me, so I did.

I actually remembered to stop my wrist watch, and I got one of the cool silver FLRC anniversary pins!  I looked at my watch, and I was both happy and disappointed at the same time.  It read 50:48.  I had averaged 10:10 miles!  Much better than my summer trail slogs of 11, 12 and 13 minute miles!  But–oh!  So close!  Almost 10 minute miles!

Perhaps this makes it easy to set a goal for next time!

Scott had finished his race with sub 8 minute miles–much better than he has seen in a long time. He was pleased that he ran this race pain free!  The previous day, we got to see our son Austin deftly manage half of his cross country meet–his first race after healing from a fibia fracture he sustained this past May while training for outdoor track.  It was such a beautiful sight to see–Austin looking strong and competitive.

So, the Voorhees family has had a very good weekend on our feet.  Methinks that we will try to enjoy meeting with our Running Family a little more often this next year!   🙂

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