The Wife and I had a goal of doing at least one 5K every month this year. We were having trouble finding a good one for April, but ended up going to the Paul Mitchell-The School Race to Create Magic Fun Run in Provo. Conveniently located immediately next door to the gym I visit several times a week, we were signed up by Friday afternoon and ready to go on Saturday morning at 7 am (a little early by my estimation, but I guess serious runners are hardcore and can handle it). There was a nice crowd milling around during registration and before long the route was described and the runners prepared to take off. I was thinking I would do really well in my age group since I thought most of the participants would be college students, and as such around the 18-25 set, so I was a little surprised to find a wide range of ages present, from the 10-year-old who finished in the top 10 to the 50+ ladies out to support their friends in the school and the cause. Now comes to dramatic part of the story...
I came in first place! No, not just in my age group, but overall! I admit the number of participants wasn't entirely overwhelming, but I'll take such a victory anytime! While I usually run just to beat myself, and even though at 22:15 this wasn't my best time ever, I was a little amazed to be the first one to cross the finish line.
For those who are interested, here are some of the details. I started off pretty strong, in the front ten, and kept a pretty steady pace. My new iPod from Julie has a Fitness feature, which times and counts steps (though I suspect the calorie counter isn't entirely accurate), and it worked perfectly throughout. The race started at the salon, went down toward the Utah State Hospital, back up past Seven Peaks water park, up some fairly steep hills in a nearby residential area, then finished back down past the gym to the salon. I managed to keep pretty far ahead until about halfway when I passed two or three people who had been pretty steadily ahead of me. Unfortunately at the last turn, the girls who were supposed to direct runners were slacking and the girl running in the lead missed the last turn and probably ran a quarter of a mile before they were able to contact and redirect her. By now I was amazed to see that I was a close second to a really steady guy with two dogs on leashes. In the last hundred yards I was able to give a final spurt of energy and pass him up to finish less than a minute ahead. I looked around, just a little bit incredulous that I was the first one to finish. Mom asked how it feels to come in first, and I thought, kind of feels like I finished the race... Pretty novel that no one finished before me, but in the end I was just glad that I kept a good pace and felt good about my time. Still, this is a definite first, and I can probably almost guarantee it will be the last time such a thing takes place. I did get a medal for winning my age group, but the overall awards were given to those who ran under special circumstances. I even sat in the Winners' Circle for pictures of my age group! Julie was so proud, and did great too. I'm so glad she's into running and it's something fun and active we can do together. We celebrated by seeing a matinee of How to Train Your Dragon and doing laundry later in the afternoon.
In the end, it was a very fulfilling morning of running, the perfect way to start off a Saturday, and I even won a can of hairspray in the raffle.