My personal highlights through September 2011 as a fun runner (or lack thereof):
- In 2007 I did the Starlight Run in Portland, though I don’t really count my experience as a run because we walked the whole thing in a sparkly costume as a preface to the parade.
- In 2009, I participated in a local 10k because Garth was out of town, I had a 6 mile run scheduled anyway, and it was the inaugural race and in our neighborhood. And by in our neighborhood I mean a route that I run 2-3x/week, every week.
I’m not sure why I’ve never gotten into the scene; I love to run and I love to have fun! Truly, I’d guess it’s because since my love affair with the sport sprouted my sights have been set on longer distances, and I’ve always been too strict with myself to “compromise” training by replacing a workout with a distance or pace that’s slightly different from the plan. However, on Sunday we ran the first Run the Bluff and had a fast run, a great morning with family, and delicious breakfast. In case you were curious, Running + Family + Breakfast = EXTRA Fun.
A couple months back Garth decided he wanted to get back into the 5k circuit, and this inaugural race was perfect timing. Also perfect: They had a 12k for me! Garth registered and started training, and because registering at the last minute has worked out so well for me lately I sharpied the date on the calendar, but waited for the price increase before signing up a week out. Along the way we convinced brother-in-law and sister-in-law to run it with us, so the morning of the race there was a crew of Knutsons ready to dominate hilly Magnolia.
I can’t speak to the 5k, but the 12k course was brutal. Up a winding-and-gradual-but-never-ending hill, back down it, back up the same winding-and-gradual-but-never-ending hill plus some, then down a long, steep and wet downhill, then up a nearly vertical hill, then about 1 mi of flatish land to finish. At least the end was flat? But still, it was fun. The runners were friendly, neighbors and kids cheered from their porches, and racing faster than anticipated is always a perfect cherry on top of the sundae. Garth raced very well too, which made spending Sunday morning battling the hills well worth it.
I finished in 54:19 (a 7:18/mi pace) which is much faster than I had set my sights on, especially given tough course and tougher speedwork on Saturday. Gotta love the small races too, because that meant finishing 4th overall and 2nd in my division. Though I missed out on a “podium” finish I did enjoy feeling competitive and racing. Once I broke away from the pack and established my footing around mile 3 spectators hollared and urged “#4 female” to catch my faster competitors. Though it wasn’t possible, it was an exciting exercise to balance maintaining my position and trying to gain ground while knowing that there were women not far behind. The 3 women ahead of me were truly much faster; bravo to #1, #2 and #3 on a race well run.
Strangely, Garth finished 4th overall and 2nd is his division for his race too. I wonder how long it will take for our new bragging right (the married running couple who placed identically) to get old. Brother-in-law finished 3rd overall and 1st division, and sister-in-law finished 9th divison. And most importantly, all four of us had a great time before, during and after the run. We celebrated our running success together with bloody marys and breakfast. The we spent the rest of our day running errands, including new bike browsing. GASP. Yes!! New bike!! More on that to come.