This past Saturday was the Flagler Sheriff’s PAL Hot Pursuit 5k. Through the encouraging of my runner friends, I signed up along with my brother, who volunteered to coach me and stick by my side through the whole race. Josh has been an athlete his whole life, while I’m more of a spectator. For the past few months I’ve been (attempting) running as a way to try to get in shape. I certainly didn’t care about speed; my goal was to finish vertically.
We got to the race site about an hour early, registered and got our bag of goodies, and talked to some of the other runners for a bit. My best friend Christina was running too, so I was able to warm up with her before we got started. When it was time to start, I immediately knew this was nothing like running around my neighborhood. There were tons of people, lots of kids, and all different paces going on… right on one little sidewalk. It was a bit hard to navigate through the pack and find a comfortable spot – and because of that, I started off much faster than my usual pace. I think this winded me from the start, and I ended up having to walk a few times in order to catch my breath. My biggest problem running is not my legs giving out, but my inability to catch my breath. I focus on breathing a lot while I run, but sometimes I get to the point where I just can’t get a deep breath and I feel like I might pass out. So, I walked and caught my breath, then started again. My brother was an amazingly supportive coach and gave me tips and tricks throughout the race to try to improve my performance. I can honestly say I would not have finished as well as I did without him there. He was a great encourager, but not pushy. I think my next 5K will be much better thanks to his training.
As we passed the 3 mile marker, Christina (who finished 1st in our age group and 1st out of the entire Sheriff’s department – ROCKSTAR!) was there waiting and ran in with Josh and I. Once we saw the finish line, they told me to sprint it out. Don’t ask me how because I just wanted to sit down, but I powered through the finish and even passed a couple of runners on the way in. It felt great! My hubby, kids and mom were all waiting at the finish and it was so nice to have such a great support system, even if it was just a three mile run. As I was trying to catch my breath, a friend (and fellow runner) told me I’d placed 3rd in my age group. WHAT?! So, my first attempt at a 5K resulted in a nice little award tile… I’ll take it! My official time was 32:16. I can only get faster from here!