Needless to say, this past week has been a pretty terrible one for us. And with all the emotional upheaval and stress we've been dealing with, some people might not understand why on earth I'd want to go out and run a 5K race today. But getting out for my regular runs this week has been instrumental in keeping me sane and centered through all of this, and I knew that if running was helping me to feel so much better, then racing would undoubtedly do the same, if not more.
So I headed down to the "A Race to Grow 5K" at 8:30 this morning, got myself registered, and got ready to run. The weather was gorgeous - dry, sunny, and it even came close to being a bit too warm, given that it's only May. But the nice weather definitely lifted my spirits along with the always-adrenaline-inducing race atmosphere.
I ran into a few friends from the running club and chatted with them before the race started, as well as with Shawn, my fellow RI blogger.
A few minutes later the gun sounded, and we were off. The course started with a quick downhill, then turned onto Main St. and circled around to an area of town that I run through often, so the terrain was very familiar.
Mile 1 went by incredibly fast, and I think I clocked in right around 7 minutes. Mile 2 didn't feel quite so fast. I was running hard, and feeling it. But as always, I knew that once I got through the second mile, there was only 1.1 miles left, and I'd be fine.
And I was. I was definitely getting tired, but the course was mostly flat, and I finished strong, crossing the finish line in 23:49.
I was a teeny bit disappointed that I was a few seconds over my current 5K PR, but not all that upset. I can't PR at every race, and I had still done a great job.
I chatted with people and drank some water, and when they started posting the results, I went over to take a peek, and was pretty pleased to see that I had come in 20th overall.
But then I started looking closer, and my eyes nearly popped out of my skull when I saw that I had come in third in my age group!
I have come so close to an age-group award in several races, and I knew I was going to get one sooner or later, but, given that this was a race I hadn't even really planned on doing, I never thought this would be the one.
Third place may not seem all that glamorous, and all I got was a medal, but as far as I'm concerned, I might as well have won the whole damn race and a million bucks, to boot!
That little medal is proof of my hard work and my dedication and my passion for this sport. I earned this, fair and square, and I have never in my life been so proud of taking third place in something.
It was really nice to finally have a reason to hang around for the awards ceremony, and I stayed for a while longer chatting with everyone, and it was just a really, really great way to start my day, and a nice way to finish what has been a pretty rotten week.
And after I came home, Grammy and Grampy came to visit, and we took the boys to the park for a picnic lunch, which was absolutely fabulous.
So, it was a horrible week, and I know we'll continue to struggle to process everything and eventually move past it. But in the meantime, I thank god that I have running to keep me centered.
And, of course, I thank god that I have my beautiful boys and my wonderful family.
There are so, so many things for me to be thankful for, and I'll continue to take a lot of comfort in that.