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Lutz Independence Day 5k

Time has really gotten away from me, as I write this post more than a month after my last one. Fortunately little of note has occurred in the interim, but I have accomplished two significant things in my running life recently:

  1. I began training for the Steamtown Marathon, and 
  2. I ran another PR 5k race and won my age group! 

I'll get to the training in a later post, but first things first.

Lutz Independence Day 5k
Since the earliest conversations I had with my boyfriend, Tim, a native of Lutz, he has talked about this 5k race. This is understandable, as it was the first 5k race he ran, which launched a significant lifestyle change for him; it was in his hometown; and it was the first race he ran with his dad, a longtime runner. He would tell me in the earlier stages of our relationship that if we were still together by July 4, I should run the race with him, his dad, and his cousin. I generally stop racing in May--maybe June, but even that's pushing it in the Florida heat. So I wasn't terribly eager to do a daytime July race (I once did a midnight July 4 race), but I knew it was important to him, so I figured I'd go and just "do" it, but not try very hard. However, that was not my experience.

I'd only heard (from Tim and his family) about how miserably hot this race was each year, so I was anticipating the worst. But on race day, there was low humidity, some light cloud coverage, and even a slight breeze. Not too bad at all. I was still thinking that I was just going to run this race at an easy pace and partake in the holiday spirit. No pressure. Of course, that never happens. Once the horn blasts, I'm immediately in competition mode.

I shoved my way past elderly folks, children, and walkers (who really shouldn't have been up front in the first place, but who's keeping track?) and tried to find my pace. The first mile was faster than I thought I could run at that point, having been away from racing for some time--around a 7:20 pace, but if felt alright, so I figured I'd try to stay around there. I knew I'd inevitably creep up in pace, but I wanted to stay below an average 8 minute mile. When I saw that I was around 7:35 in the second mile, I knew that if I held out, I could possibly PR--which is not at all what I expected to do at this race. But I also typically blow all my speed by the second mile and slowly start creeping up in pace. I made a concerted effort to keep it up, to push more than I thought I could. Perhaps this is Tim's influence; his sometimes obsessive competitiveness is beginning to rub off on me. But I held out. When I was close enough to barely make out the clock at the finish line, I saw it turn to 23 minutes and was determined to come in under 24. I finished with an official time of 23:44, at an average 7:38 pace. I was ecstatic!

Tim's mom was right there at the finish line to congratulate me and give me a towel. Tim came over right after and told me he'd also PR'd--he'd been trying to get under 19:23 for some time, and he finally did it at 19:13. Go figure: we both PR at one of the year's supposedly hottest races. And to top it off, Tim, his dad, and I all won age group awards. But that almost didn't happen for me. When I saw the results were posted, I went to find my name and saw that I was listed as a male. This put me in 10th place for the male age group 30-34. I've never placed in a race before, and I didn't really expect to that day; but after seeing where I ranked as a man, I thought perhaps I had a chance as a woman. So I went over to the director's tent and kindly informed the volunteer working at the computer that I was in fact a woman, but my sex was listed incorrectly. Since she could visually verify that I was telling the truth, she made a quick change in the computer, and when she recalculated the results, it turned out I'd won my age group! What a difference a sex change can make.

Once I told Tim, I think he was more excited for me than I was. After all, it all depends on who shows up. But I was still very proud of myself, and especially of my highly unexpected PR. Further, Tim ended up placing fourth in his age group (because it's a Fourth of July race, they do four awards per age group), and his dad placed first, as well! And I'd be negligent to leave out Tim's cousin Nicole, who ran the whole race while pushing her (not light) son in a stroller! That is dedication.

The three of us hung around the race site for a while, chatting with friends and waiting for the awards ceremony to start. Eventually, we got to sit and wait for our names to be called so we could be recognized and receive our trophies. It was a happy event.

Afterward, we were treated with a beautiful and delicious brunch prepared by Tim's mom. And bless her for considering all of my many and varied dietary restrictions! We feasted on eggs (with and without cheese), sausage (real and vegetarian), biscuits and corn muffins, fruit, yogurt, portobello mushrooms, and two kinds of cupcakes for dessert!

After sufficiently stuffing ourselves, visiting with family, and taking the requisite trophy pictures, we said goodbye to Lutz and went home for a well-deserved nap.


Timothy Guidry said…
You're welcome for the obsessive competitiveness. Great job!
Evelyn said…
I learned so much about training and running a race from your blog, Lee. You and Tim keep up the good work. The brunch looked delicious!

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