about bliss

Sunday, October 26, 2008

return to race day

chicago half marathon, october 2006

Yesterday morning I laced up my trusty asics, grabbed my iPod shuffle, and drove to a local park to meet my friends B, K, and J for my return to "competitive" running...

My last race was October 1, 2006, when I ran the Chicago half marathon. Since then, my running has mostly fizzled out. This fall, however, my friend H and I decided we would run together two mornings a week, and soon I felt the peaceful easiness returning to my feet and lungs.

And so when I heard of this local race, I recruited a few of my guy friends who run to join a team with me...

And so on a chilly, colorful autumn morning, we set forth, battling winds, gravel hills, and the stench of a petting zoo (seriously. the trail wound behind the local zoo). I quickly lost sight of my friends and was fairly certain I was the last person in the pack, but I paid no mind...

This is your motivation to train longer, and harder. To make fitness a true priority once again. This is your moment to realize you don't have to be first, and you can even be last. To be in the now, to breathe, to know that all things change constantly.

As I picked my way up the steep gravel hill, I heard my friends cheering me on: "You're almost there! Keep it up!"

I rounded a corner and hit the straight away. The clock came in sight: 29:39. I can actually make it under 30 minutes! I sprinted to the finish line, with a race time of 29:50. Not anywhere near my best time, but so much faster than I thought I would be after such a long hiatus.

And, imagine my surprise to receive a 3rd place medal for my age group (okay, so there were only 4 people in my age group...). And, my team, the Hillside Hipsters, won first place in the team division, thanks to our ringer, J, who ran the race in 18:05. K and B ran in the mid 20s to round out our stunning finish (in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that there was only one other team). We're already planning to enter another race in December--the question is whether I should run the 2 mile race or the 5 mile race...

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