This was my first repeat racing event since I started entering races a little over a year ago. For those that aren't familiar with this race, it is an annual run put on as a fund raiser for the Bedford YMCA. The course starts at the Bedford Middle School and routes runners around the famous "loop". Last year this was my second ever 5k race and I finished with a time of 24:50. Having run these roads hundreds of times in 2012, I was hoping to better my time this year.
For once, I actually got to a race with enough time to actually warm up. I read some 5k racing guides online and all of these writings talked about how important it was to warm up for shorter races. So I made myself run at a decent pace down Longwood for about 10 minutes. I made it back to the starting line in enough time to get a decent spot in the crowd. I quickly spotted a friend, Travis Wingfield, right in front of me. After talking to him really quick, the race was off. I decided that I would stick with Travis as long as I could. I had written down mile times I needed in order to get a finishing time under 23:00. I had planned to stick with those splits all week leading up to the race and it took me 5 seconds to abandon them.
After setting a pace that was much faster than I anticipated, it was too late to change. I had to just do my best at keeping up the blistering (for me at least) pace. By the time I got to the infamous hospital hill, I was really feeling the burn in my legs. I was just concentrating on keeping my foot speed up. I had run this hill at least 50 times since last year's race, so I felt pretty confident I could get to the top without dropping off my pace too much. The good news was that I made it to the top at a pretty good rate; the bad news was that my legs felt like they were sticks of wood with bricks attached to the bottom.
The next mile was spent trying to get my legs to speed back up to the rate they were turning over at the beginning of the race. With about 1/2 mile remaining, my legs were starting to loosen back up. I was glad because one last small incline to the middle school was still to come. I was able to finish this last section of the race fairly comfortably and I was happy to beat my last year’s time by 1 minute and 32 seconds. My official time was 22:12. This time didn't beat my best 5k time of 21:47 (which was set on a very flat cross country style course last August), but it was fast enough to get me 3rd in my age group.
Even though I was very happy with my performance in the 5k, the highlight of my race day was still yet to come. Eli and Coy were both taking part in the kids' 1/4 mile run. They were both so excited when I gave them their "numbers" the night before. We pinned them to their sweatshirts that night and had all their running gear laid out for the morning. By the time the kids race was about to start, I ended up with the boys so that I could encourage Coy and get him to stay at the starting line. I could not have been more proud of my boys that morning. It is not that I want my boys to be successful in sports; I want them to be willing to try anything and do always do their best.
Just before the start of the race, Coy spotted Mommy about 20 yards in the distance, trying to get some pictures. He decided that he was going to go hang out with her, so he took off. Just then, the race organizer reached out and grabbed his shirt. While trying to be helpful, Josh scared Coy and he started balling. Now we were down to one runner! With Coy out of the race, I could pay a little more attention to Eli. I believe he has inherited his Mommy and Daddy's competitiveness. Once the race was started, he definitely had his game face on (except when Mommy was taking pictures, of course). Eli completed his lap around the middle school parking lot while running 100% of the time. As I ran past Anna and Coy, I stopped and helped Coy at least finish the race. He was in a much better mood by this time.
Eli and Coy both finished the race and received medals. They were so proud, but not as proud as their parents. It is so much more rewarding to see your children excel at something, than anything I can personally accomplish. This is a feeling that I believe only parents can understand. I look forward to having many more experiences like these with Eli and Coy. So all in all, the 33rd annual Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k was a great time and I look forward to taking part in the race for years to come.