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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last Saturday I took part in my annual 5K run. I take part in this race because it is sponsored by our local hospital, offers an awesome health fair, and, the best reason, is a free event!

This was my third year of taking part in this event. The first year I walked the course and last year I ran the course. I finished the race with a time of 25:05. I was determined to beat that time and trained hard leading up to the event. I was also excited because I would finally be meeting one of my dearest SparkFriends, AWEISE. We were to meet up at last year’s event but, due to poor planning, were unable to do so. This year we formulated a better plan.
Upon arrival at the location I noticed a large crowd and wondered if I had perhaps gotten too late of a start that morning. Then I remembered that since I pre-registered for the event I was able to bypass the registration line and proceed immediately to the pre-registration line and pick-up my bib and tracking device. There’s a lesson to be learned here, ALWAYS pre-register for an event, it saves a lot of time! Anyhow I pinned on my bib, secured my tracking device to my running shoes and waited for AWEISE. I did not have to wait long as she arrived right at the time she promised. AWEISE is an awesome lady. I felt so comfortable speaking with her, almost like we were long-time friends. We chatted about last year’s event, about our cell phone plans (I know, weird subject!), and our respective spouses. My camera took an awkward picture by itself (argh, if I could ever learn how to properly use my camera phone I would be dangerous!) of AWEISE.

BTW, she has been recently re-thinking her health goals and needs our support, so, if you have an opportunity stop by her page and leave her a supportive comment! Anyhow, she moved on to check out the health fair while I waited for a second friend.
As the start time neared I entered the running corral, got my iTouch ready to go, and enjoyed the few minutes before the start of the race.

This year the start was handled more professionally as the runners were separated from the walkers. Last year the start of the race proved to be an obstacle course as I had to navigate around walkers and strollers. Separating the two types of participants would allow the runners to get a quick start without having to worry about bumping into a slower participant.
As the race started I started off at a good steady pace, navigating around slower runners and finding a “lane” that I could use to run with little or no impediments. I paid little attention to the other participants rather I concentrated on finding a good pace and keeping my eyes ahead of me so as not to trip over something or run through water. As I hit the downward slope portion of the course I tried to keep my pace steady. I passed the Mile 1 marker feeling very strong so I decided to increase my pace. As I approached the water station I decided to skip it as I had drank a couple of bottles of water before the race. I passed the Mile 2 marker still feeling strong but keeping in mind that the upward slope would be rearing its ugly head shortly. As I approached the start of the hill I pushed myself to keep the same pace, keeping in mind that I just needed to put one foot in front of the other. As I passed the Mile 3 marker I was elated that I still felt strong. Turning the corner and headed down the home stretch I kicked it up another gear and sprinted to the finish line! I forgot to look at the race clock as I passed it but my unofficial time was 23:46! I stopped at the race tracker station to turn in my tracker and waited for results to be posted. A few minutes later they were posted and I officially finished in 112th place with a race time of 23:48!

That, my friends, averages to a sub 8 minute mile. (Ok, ok, I am tooting my own horn but I worked hard for that time!)

Anyhow, as I waited at the finish line for AWEISE to cross it, I was struck by the outpouring of support by bystanders as their friends/family members approached and crossed the finish line. I was particularly overcome with emotion by a mother’s reaction (apparently she had run the race, too, having finished before) as her ten year old son crossed the finish line with a gusto that put me to shame! Moments later she was enthusiastically cheering her eight year old daughter as she approached the finish line with the same gusto as her brother. The smile on her face was simply priceless. As she crossed the finish line she ran into her mother’s arms! OMG, that was beautiful! I’m sorry I am sucker for family moments like these, simply AWESOME!

I saw AWEISE cross the finish line and captured the moment with an extremely short video. (Again, user-error resulted in a poor video, sorry!)

As I was fumbling with my phone I lost track of AWEISE and attempted to find her in the large crowd but was unable to do so.

I can’t wait until next year’s event. Until then I am going to work on my phone camera skills!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Congratulations. Great story. An inspiration!!
    3278 days ago
    Congrats on beating last year's time! Looks like you had an awesome sparky time! emoticon
    3352 days ago
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog!!!

    Great run!! Great event!!

    So glad you meet up with a Sparker!! That's always super nice! :)

    Yes, I can see how you'd be dangerous if you knew how to work the camera! emoticon
    3356 days ago
  • LUCYLIN101
    What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing!!!
    3365 days ago
    I just saw you comment congratulating Gilmore a spark friend of mine and yours. I thank you for sharing you Spark Page and I see you have lost 150 pounds and after reading your blog I am so overwhelmed with joy. I am so happy for you that you were able to break you own best time .

    Thank you again for sharing it has helped me tremendously. I would love to add you to my Spark friends.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3367 days ago
    A very good blog...woo hoo on the run
    3369 days ago
  • TERRYT55
    Hi Raul........SO COOL to read about your race. Congrats on your time! I run that fast ONLY in my dreams emoticon

    I am so jealous that you met a fellow sparker. If you do another race let me know, maybe I can meet both you and AWEISE.

    I am a sucker for family moments too......Thanks for sharing your memories of the race.
    3370 days ago
    That is absolutely inspiring and wonderful! I am so proud of you for making your goal and improving your own time! It sounds like you worked hard and completely deserved to get excited! I have been biking a lot recently, which is great. Recently got orthotics made for me feet which should be in next week to help me get back to some running this summer. Thanks for sharing your story and your pics!
    3370 days ago
    please post a thread next year so more of us can take advantage of this FREE 5K please
    love the photos BTW
    3380 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5217955
    You did so great. You deserve a big toot! What will you do next?

    It was a pleasure meeting you. You are such a nice person. Thank you for your kind words. Also the pictures. Now I have something to snag.

    I really HATE doing things 100% by myself. Meeting you made me feel like I wasn't alone though I did the race by myself. No way could I keep up with you.

    We'll have to plan to do another race this year. There are always tons of them going on.
    3381 days ago
    What an AWESOME experience!!! You are truly a roll model for all of us! Keep up the fantastic work ~ patty emoticon
    3382 days ago
    Wow! Congratulations!
    3382 days ago
    Thanks for sharing those great photos! I agree--toot away, hard work deserves it.
    3382 days ago
    Woo Hoo! Congratulations! Looks like a wonderful day and you did work hard to earn that time! Love the pictures; thanks for sharing!
    3382 days ago
    What a great story and day and event.
    But, yes, you do need to work on your phone camera technique!!
    3383 days ago
    Way to go on your time. That is amazing! And you are such a great sparkfriend! emoticon
    3383 days ago
    Lovely. As for blowing your own horn - emoticon shout it from the rooftops - you are amazing.

    You work hard to achieve your accomplishments and are a great inspiration to so many others.

    As for ending with the family - I had a lump in my throat - am such a softie!

    Enjoy your camera self-tuition. If your commitment is anything to go by, you'll be great at that too!

    Love M and congratulations.
    3383 days ago
    How awesome!! It's pretty cool that this is a free event - rare to find for a 5k and a hospital! It is also so cool that you were able to meet up with a spark friend - AWEISE (I'll be visiting her page next).

    You should be so proud of that 8 min mile! If that was me, I wouldn't be tooting my own horn - I'd be whippin' out the megaphone!

    As regards to those phone - picture taking skills, I'm right there with ya. I've gotten some nice shots of my thumb and my steering wheel - ha!

    As always, you're an incredible source of inspiration.
    3383 days ago
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