I was looking for a new challenge after completing my bat mitzvah when I saw a sign for the Ricky Byrdsong Race Against Hate. I signed up at the urging of an IRL friend, but I doubt I would've done if not for hearing my blog friends go on about their new found running habits.
I didn't formally train using Couch to 5K guidelines, just added a bit of jogging (which I do not like) to my normal fitness walks. I knew I'd approach the 5K with a walk/jog combo. I knew I'd end up with a base time, a time to beat should I decide to tackle a future 5K with greater intention. This time, I just wanted to finish. Not last.
I don't know much about pacing, but I do try to adjust myself based on the crowd. For example, at one nearby indoor track where the typical walker is about 62 years old, my goal is simply to pass whoever is ahead of me. I walk with a fast, but steady, pace.
On the outdoor track and my children's school, I walk counterclockwise, while most of the crowd walks clockwise (yes, there's likely a large metaphor at play here). I try and keep track of where I do or should cross paths with certain people based on whether they are out for a pleasant morning walk or there for exercise.
For this race, there were three main folks that helped me pace myself. I'm not proud to admit this, but one of my pacers was a flat footed young girl with an awkward gate. Like me, she alternated between jogging and walking, only she was sandwiched between her parents, holding their hands. Her father weaved a charming yarn to entertain her that lasted the entire route. It was tempting to stay within listening distance, and yet, I was not going to let her finish before me.
So with the developmentally challenged child in my dust (I am pitiful), I had my eye on two old men. Old being later 50s or early 60s. We took turns outpacing each other, but over time, their jog:walk ratio was higher than mine and I fell behind.
There were a couple of others that I gleefully passed only to have them pass me up in the end.
But as I came into the final stretch, it was "Back Fat" who gave me a run for my money. Now, as an chubby woman over the age of 40, I've got a little somethin-somethin bulging out of my bra (on the backside), but I keep it covered up. This gal had her shirt tucked up into her bra exposing, well, you get the nickname.
Back Fat was also a run/walker. We alternated a lead on each other for over a mile. She was ahead of me in the homestretch until I zoomed (ha) past her, but then in the last two blocks, she blasted ahead of me.
I did not finish last! Indeed, I was 1151 out of 1265 runners, and 84 out of 96 for women my age.
A new habit or a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again? Who knows? What exciting new challenges are you taking on these days?
Don't forget the Farm to Fork Cookbook giveaway!