That Finish Line Look (And a Request for Advice)

I knew this weekend was going to be full. It started Friday night with Relay for Life (I am our team’s captain). This is my the luminary in honor of my mom, a cancer survivor:

On the Saturday morning when Relay was still technically underway, I needed to get my son to the Friends of Wakulla Springs 1 Mile Run, which  was a “Grand Prix” run for him. After he spent the night with me on the oh-so-comfortable Leon County Fairgrounds soil, we headed out at 6:30 a.m. for Wakulla. Having figured out that I would be at Wakulla also, I signed up for the 5K. That 5K is what got me thinking about tonight’s post ……..

Prior to giving in to the siren call of the prospect of running a race I really like for a cause I really care about, I was seriously contemplating not running 5K’s at all until I felt like I was closer to my goal of running a 5K in less than thirty minutes. I have been running 12 400’s at a local track once a week, and have had a bit of success with getting closer to 30:00 (this week was under 33:00), so I had started thinking that I would work on getting closer to my goal in that controlled environment before doing a race again.

But, as I wrote on my DailyMile post after the race, who was I kidding? I may not be happy with my time but I love races. I love seeing the people who share the joy of running; I love seeing all the different levels of athletes do their best; I love watching race volunteers pitching in; I love helping a good cause.

Fred Deckert, one of our club photographers “extraordinaire,” stationed himself at the finish line so he got some real doozies of people’s expressions. (When I was at my son’s kids’ triathlon today, I overheard a parent tell their kid, “don’t smile, just breathe and run.” Really??) But finish line pictures capture so much (more grimaces than smiles!)

I know racing is just supposed to be “against ourselves” and for me it’s a specific time goal but I really do hate to be passed and I use the runners around me to challenge myself to pick up the pace. There were several of us women finishing around the same time, and several of them were friends (or sisters or something). A friend of theirs was coaching them on how to make a better finish and running in with them and I said, “help me finish strong too.” This awesome guy didn’t say, “you’re kidding, right? I want to help my friend finish faster.” By his response, he personified the spirit of running – he was supportive and pushed me to sprint to the end.

That’s how I “2240” and I ended up neck and neck at the finish.

After last year’s St. George Island Sizzler, when my whinefest about how people ought to be polite at the finish line resulted in an almost unanimous chorus of “no, you just have to go for it” sentiments from commenters, I have determined to make the strongest finish I can, whether I am by myself or shoulder-to-shoulder with five other people.

After the finish (we both finished at 41:08), it took me a moment to figure out if I was going to barf or pass out. That “barf of pass out” moment is hard to achieve without the adrenaline of a race. As someone proposed in an article I read recently, “If you’re trying to get faster, you need to race.”

Racing or not, I still want to break 30:00. That’s where the advice part comes in. I know some of the elements are: 1) losing weight so there’s less to move around, 2) getting stronger so the body that is there functions more efficiently, and 3) challenging and varied workouts, including intervals. With our household employment situation right now, I can’t pay someone for personal training, so if you have advice that has worked for you in getting faster, share away!!

I’ll “run” into you next week, readers. I’ll be the one with that “outta my way it’s a finish line” look!

Wordless Wednesday

Wakulla Springs, Florida
Photo Credit:  Sue Damon
A month or two ago, Sue Damon and I started exchanging emails about using one of her beautiful photographs as part of a Wordless Wednesday.  Eventually, we agreed that the Wednesday prior to the 5K Run for the Friends (of Wakulla Springs) would be the best time.
Back then, it just seemed like a logical idea, to support a place that is near and dear to so many of us in this area.  Everything changed on April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occurred.
Now, more than ever, Wakulla Springs needs friends.
Photo Credit: Sue Damon

If you live here in North Florida, consider coming out and running or volunteering this Saturday, May 15, at 8:00 a.m. (the races begin with the 1 mile fun run). 

If you live elsewhere, visit this Facebook Page for information.
Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better.
Juha Väätäinen, Finland
Wakulla Springs Boats at Sunset
Photo Credit:  Sue Damon