Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July 5K race

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog.  This is a long winded story but there are some spiritual truths at the end.  So if you need a little spiritual pick-me-up, please scroll to the bottom.  The story begins...

I started July 4th, bright and early- getting up at 6 am to walk the dog before heading out to run in the local 5K 4th of July race.  Our whole family was planning on running.  This year our oldest son Matt wanted to run the 5K race instead of participating in the 1 mile fun run.  Since Matt is only 9 years old, one of us had to run with him.  Glenn volunteered as his pace coach so I had the green light to go and try for a PB (personal best).  Last year Glenn and I ran the race together and I went out way too fast- I ended up slowing down my last mile, finishing around 25:40.  Glenn basically had to "encourage" me to keep going during the last mile.  Being in better shape than I was last year, I had hopes to run a faster time.

The race began around 8 am.  This local race is very low budget- no chip times or fancy starting line.  There was a quick announcement for runs to get ready then "bang" went the gun and we were off.  About 600 runners headed off to run a hot, flat out and back course.  I do not have a GPS watch since I usually use my IPhone to track my pace.  I left my phone at home since I was not running with music.  I did bring my simple sports watch to help me track my mile pace.  Luckily I started running next to a couple of women who were using a GPS watch and keep calling out their mile pace every few minutes.  This was great because it allowed me to know that I was keeping about a 8 minute mile pace, which was my goal- I hadn't gone out too fast.  My first mile was about 7:50 which made me a little nervous- would I have enough to finish this race at this pace?  The next mile takes you into a neighborhood.  After I had come out of the neighborhood, I saw Glenn and Matt going into the neighborhood.  They looked great- Matt was holding a steady pace.  My mile 2 pace was about 8:07.  My goal was to finish under 25 minutes so I knew if I picked up the pace a little I should reach my goal.  Mile 3 was the hottest mile- you are running into the sun .  So I did pick up the pace a little, deciding to push it once I was out of the sun.  With less than a 1/2 mile to go, the race entered a shadier section so I picked up the pace to the finish line.  I ran mile 3 in 8:00 and finished the 5K race in 24:40.  Since there are no chip times, you are given a blue card at the end of the race in the order you come in.  It is an honor system to fill out the correct time and information then put it in the correct age group.  The race director then uses the cards to place the top 4 male/female runners in each age group. 

Once I was done I was happy with my time.  Maybe I could have run faster or maybe if I pushed it, I would have fallen apart the last mile.  Either way I reached my goal and I was still standing.  Matt came in with Glenn at 30:50.  Unfortunately I didn't see Matt finish- I was heading back to the finish line but they had already come in.  Matt ran the whole race- didn't walk at all.  The kicker is he didn't train at all.  I keep telling him that he should do some runs around our neighborhood but he never did.  Typical Matt- athletics seem to come naturally to him. 

Our youngest Jake ran in the 1 mile fun run.  Last year Matt and Jake both ran the 1 mile run.  Jake wanted to run the 1 mile by himself this year since Glenn ran with him last year.  I was at the starting line with Jake when the gun went off.  I wished him luck then he took off.  I got nervous watching him go by himself so I ran alongside on the sidewalk- giving him his distance but ready to jump in if he needed me.  Once I was confident that he would make it to the turn around spot, I stopped running and waited for him to come back.  When I saw Jake, he was running hard.  I finished the race with him, encouraging him to continue running.  Jake ran his 1 mile run in 12:30.  He got a cool ribbon for completing the run.

Jake with his cool ribbon
After Jake's race, Matt was anxious to locate the award ceremony.  The 5K race is the kick-off event for the town of  Lutz-  a parade follows the race, beginning around 10 am.  Matt really wanted to find out if he had placed in his age group.  I wasn't sure- I had seen other kids in the race and wondered if his time was fast enough to place in the top 4.  I was doubtful that I had placed- there were a handful of cards in my age group's slot when I submitted my time.  So we went to the awards ceremony- warning my competitive little Matt that he might not get an award.  The male winner of the 5K race was a boy who goes to our church- I know his parents well.  He is going to be a senior in high school and is becoming a really good runner.  When they got to Matt's age group which was 0-9, we were happy to hear his name called for 3rd place.  In typically Matt style he went up, giving a fist pump before receiving his trophy. 

Matt after getting his award

I told Matt I didn't think I was going to place but he said "you never know".  When they got to my age group 35-39, I was surprised to get 4th place.  I believe this 5K time was a PB but I definitely know it was a post-baby PB-  I don't think I had run this fast prior to having children.  When I was in my twenties, I was always surprised that the women runners in their late 30s & 40s sometimes had faster running times than the younger women.  My theory is that most women in their 20s aren't as disciplined with their physical routine as the older women.  This is just my theory- but it has been definitely true for me. 

Matt & I with our awards

After the awards, we enjoyed the Lutz annual July 4th parade.  We had a blast collecting candy and beads from parade walkers. 

Jake at the parade

Parade is over

The story really ends this morning-  both boys woke up complaining that they had sore legs and feet.  They didn't realize at first it was from the race.  It was so funny to watch them try to stretch and reflex their sore muscles.  So Mommy was right-  training is an important piece to running a race.

SO here is where I see God is this story....
  • I focused on Him and not the race as I ran.  Same goes for life- keep your eye on Jesus and not the junk all around you. 
  • Matt kept a steady pace and finished the race a winner.  This can apply to our spiritual walk, that we are steadily following his lead which will help us plug along in our own race called life.
  • Jake wanted to run his race alone.  As parents, we have to raise our kids to run their own races.  We won't always be there to run it with them.  It is important for us to train and prepare them for their own race, hopefully they will decide to run their race with Jesus.
  • Most of us can't just go out and run a 5K without proper training.  Same is true for our spiritual walk- we need to properly train ourselves by praying and reading the Bible.  We can't rely on just a Sunday tune-up to get us through this life.  We need a daily dose of personal time with our personal Savior.
Hope you had a great 4th.  God bless the USA.


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