We look forward to the Chapman University 5K every year. They call it the “flattest, fastest, and ‘funnest’ 5K in the world” and we definitely agree. The first year I ran it, I actually made it onto the podium, receiving my first ever age group trophy. The second year, I managed to run a mile of it with eight year old Princess (I was 36 weeks pregnant). It was her first 5K. This year, both the girls and I trained for and ran the race while the boys cheered us on.
Team Sparkle had a huge showing at this little race. There were women ages 6-60. There were women who made it on the podium and women who just barely started running a few weeks prior. It didn’t matter that most of us didn’t know each other, we were all part of the team.
With Todd as her pacer, Pumpkin finished her first 5K in 37:50 (12:11 pace). Not only was the one of the youngest kids in the race, she was the fastest kid under 8 years old. She credited her speed to her Team Sparkle skirt and her running shoes.
This year Princess ran with a friend (until the finish chute where she sprinted ahead) and finished in 30:38 (9:52 pace) cutting almost 2 minutes off last year’s time. She placed 24th out of 64 girls ages 13 and under.
I was hoping to hold a sub 7 minute pace. My secret goal was for a 6:45 pace. With a race this short, you have to go all out from the start line. By the last half mile my body was hurting. The nausea was constant. My brain turned on me. “You can just stop running.” “You don’t need to go this fast.” “It will feel so good to walk.” The mental battle was tougher than the physical one. It was so tough, there were moments I almost started to cry. Tears would start to well up, my chest would tighten, my breaths would become even more labored. I owe victory over the negative voices in my head to the guy running just a few feet ahead of me. Each time he heard my breaths become more labored as I choked to find the air and struggled to fight back tears, he’d yell words of encouragement. Those words helped me regain my composure 4 or 5 times during that last half mile. I couldn’t wait to give him a big hug at the finish line, but he was instantly lost in the crowd.
So thank you mystery man for helping me get a PR: 20:50 (6:43 pace), placing me 12th out of the 943 women in the race.
I was so proud of our accomplishments.