This morning I pinned a race bib to my shirt and waited for the sound of the air horn. I was off and running my first race in four months.
Tyler and I drove down to Huntington Beach for the Surf City Run 5K. Back in 2003 this was my first race ever. I had no idea what I was doing at the time. I'd been running for a month on my own and for a week with the Snail's Pace Running Group. I was using an 8:1 run:walk sequence at the time. I'd read Galloway's book at the beginning of June. I took walk breaks in the race. I've never done that since that race. My time was 34:27 back then.
Surf City seemed like a fitting return to racing since I just got restarted in June, the same weekend I initially started running in 2003. My only real goal was to have fun and finish somewhere south of 30 minutes. Tyler hasn't been running much lately so his plan was to stick with me.
The beginning of the race was the usual crowding and jockeying for position. We probably placed ourselves a little further back than necessary. It took us just over 30 seconds to cross the starting line. The only real issue was walkers, 4 abreast, in the center of the road, too far up front. We've all fallen victim to them and they have every right to be on the course, but a little etiquette would go a long way. Tyler and I managed to stick together even with the weaving and bobbing.
We hit the first mile in 8:54 (my watch). That was a pleasant surprise. Not exactly Speedy Gonzalez but faster than any of my recent runs would have predicted. I just kept motoring along. Tyler was consistently just off to my right shoulder. At the halfway point, Tyler faded a step or two back. I couldn't see him out of the corner of my eye any longer. I just keep truckin' along. We had decided ahead of time to each run the best race we could.
I hit the 2 mile mark in 8:36. I was impressed with that. About that time I started getting the tingling feeling in my hands and on the top of my head that lets me know that I'm pushing a little. I kept moving forward as smoothly as possible.
The finish line is around a left turn. As I approached I could hear the announcer calling off the times and doing his best to get people to finish in 27:00 minutes. I thought - No way - but I stayed calmed pushed it a little and made it in at 27:10 or so official. The last 1.1 was at 9:15 for a final time by my watch of 26:45 - a very satisfying return to running/racing. Tyler came in about 1:30 after me.
Now I'm off to clean up the doggie doo doo and sweep the back porch. We're hosting about 25 friends for a July 4th swim party and barbecue. Feel free to stop by, the more the merrier.
note: the post title is a little snippet from the Welcome Back Kotter theme song.