Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day

I mean, it seems like this is a good excuse for me to post a little somethin' somethin', given my love ( for running.

2013 has been a decent year race-wise. I ran the Shamrock Shuffle faster than last year, and I finished the Soldier Field Ten Miler about five minutes slower than last year with a rather lackadaisical training effort. I'm pleased. However I think my best running experience of 2013 would have to be running a 5k with my sister-in-law.

It was a damp and chilly April morning in the northside Chicago neighborhood. I had run the Ravenswood 5k last year and found it  be very fun. Low pressure, gorgeous houses along the route, everyone was just out for a good time. I knew that this race would be the perfect choice for my sister-in-law for her very first 5k. I remember my first 5k (I wrote about it here), and it was such a fantastic and defining moment for me, I was so thrilled to be a part of that with her.

Her goals? To not be the last person and to beat 45 minutes. Her goals became my personal mission. I wasn't worried about the first one. This race aways has lots of walkers, so I knew that so long as we ran SOMETHING, we wouldn't be last. We committed to a ratio of three to one: three minutes running to one minute walking. When we crossed the start line, we were off! And...speedy. We were running at a pace that definitely felt faster than what she had told me she was running in her training. I went with it though. After about a mile, she told me that she was getting winded. I slowed it up, and we were just fine. The ratio worked out perfectly and we were plugging along just fine.

At two miles, I realized we were doing well enough that we were for sure going to beat her time goal. I think I got a little eager, and my pace crept up a little. She was great at communicating this to me, and I slowed down. I started pointing out that we were getting very close. When we got to what I knew was the home stretch, I told her to forget the last walk break, we were going to finish strong. She protested. But I wasn't having her quit on me with the finish line in sight.


She didn't love me at that moment, but she sucked it up and kept on running. We finished in 39:44. I felt so proud of her. It was almost like it was my first time again as I felt that sweet rush of crossing the finish line.

Running is just...well, it's changed my life. If I can share a part of that with other loved ones, you'd better believe I will. It's not abouy losing weight or getting faster (both are awesome, obviously), but it's so much fun getting up on a Sunday morning and getting fresh air and a good start to the day. So, while I might have had a personal record for the Shamrock Shuffle, the 5k with my sister-in-law was my favorite running experience of the year.

Now...about that 13.1 in two and a half weeks...I guess we will see!

Happy National Running Day to all those who love it like I do! (That is, tolerate it, like getting medals and shirts, and really are in it for post-race brunches and cheeseburgers.)