My running club—the Smyrna Clayton Running Club—hosted the Inaugural Blue Earl 5K Shuffle Run/Walk & 1-Mile Fun Walk on Sunday, April 9, 2017. The weather was gorgeous that day—sunny and in the upper 60s if I remember correctly. I hadn’t been to this particular race location before, but I immediately knew where we were, because it started in an industrial complex next to a kids’ jump/bounce place called Leaping Lizards.
Thankfully, as moms of toddlers know, the race started at 10 a.m., which wasn’t too phenomenally early like other races. It’s hard to get out the door with the Angry Toddler sometimes. My amazing husband Tom got us to the race location with about 15 minutes to spare, which was perfect timing.
I grabbed my bib, said hi to a few SCRC members, and we also got a balloon unicorn from Snippy Doodles the clown!
The race started just about on time, and I tried to line up closer to the front of the pack. I’m not a fast runner, but I wanted to try and get a sub-30 5K, so I thought I should move up toward the front to bypass the walkers or strollers.
As the race began, I fumbled with my Nike+ Run Club app. For some reason it wasn’t working correctly, so I shut it off and focused on getting the Amazon Prime Music app to start so that I could listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. After Kelly Roberts (Run, Selfie, Repeat) talked about it in one of her podcast episodes, I’ve been hooked and obsessed! It’s intellectually stimulating and has just the right beat.
The course itself wasn’t all that interesting, because it started and ended in the industrial park. I was hoping that we would be running in downtown Smyrna, which has a lot of local flavor, but I didn’t mind all that much. I love racing for the comradery and cheering fellow runners on. I’m the crazy runner who cheers on the race leaders as they’re heading back to the starting line while I haven’t even hit the half-way point yet. I’m the runner who cheers on people who look like they’re struggling and thanks police officers for blocking traffic for racers.
At some point during a 5K race, I inevitably think, “This is silly. I feel like I’m dying. Maybe I should just start to walk. I can’t do this.” But then I look around at everyone else, become a psychic vampire, and pull energy from the crowd. I visualize the next sign post or runner that I want to catch up to, and I just keep going.
I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%, but I was close to it. I knew I was pushing myself, but I also felt more energized than I have at previous 5Ks, which was a new feeling for me.
I hit the 3-mile marker and rounded the corner to the final stretch. I was sucking in air like nobody’s business, but I also felt strong. Strong?! That’s new. I looked at the time clock to see 28-something minutes.
“Hmm…well, that’s just the gun time,” I thought. That can’t be my actual chip time.
Lo and behold, I ended up pulling off a 28:36 total time with a 9:14 average pace. There’s something to be said for “running naked” without a watch or app to tell you your pace.
I’m very proud of myself for this new 5K PR. What’s next?
I’ll be running the Discover Bank Delaware Marathon Running Festival for the half marathon distance thanks to my sponsor, PlowOn Gum. I’m so overjoyed and humbled to be able to run in Plow’s honor. It would be amazing if I could attain a new half marathon PR there, but I know it’ll be a hot day, and the course is not flat. I don’t challenge myself as a runner like I should do with hill repeats or tempo runs, so this will be interesting. I ran the relay option a few years ago, so I am somewhat used to the course.
I’ll also be running in honor of Joh’Nya Lewis, a nine-year-old girl who has a synovial sarcoma (tumor) on her wrist. Her mom, Juaniece, and I talked on the phone late last week, and she and her entire family are so strong and inspiring. This started out in early March as just a bump on Joh’Nya’s wrist from what they thought was jumping on a trampoline with her siblings. No one in Joh’Nya’s family had ever had cancer before or really any major illness to speak of. She’s receiving radiation until May 31, and her doctors will see what the status of the tumor is then. I’m raising funds via the Snowdrop Foundation at my Team Miles for Smiles fundraising page here for Joh’Nya and pediatric patients nationwide.
Please consider taking a minute to look at our team page and potentially donate. It would mean the word to me and my entire Team Miles for Smiles group!