For the last two months I have been training harder and more consistently than I ever have.
Everything was setup for a great 5K tonight, organized as a fundraiser for the One Fund for Boston. In characteristic New Mexico fashion, the festivities scheduled to begin at 5:30pm started around 6:15. Pre-race events included recognition of people present who recently ran the Boston Marathon, music from a bagpiper, presentation by a color guard, a moment of silence, and the singing of the national anthem. With somewhere between 200-300 people gathered together on the track surrounding the Balloon Fiesta Field, the race director suddenly said go (I am still not really sure where the start/finish line was) and we were off.
I started the first tenth of a mile a little slow as I weaved my way through the crowd, but soon moved towards the front of the pack. I finished the first mile in 8:05, exactly where I wanted to be. The second mile passed in 7:45, again right on target. At the start of the third mile I turned into a headwind somewhere around 20mph. I slowed a bit to a pace of around an eight minute mile, but as I turned to the wind at my back I felt I had plenty of energy in my tank and would really kick after the watch beeped for mile three.
The beep never came. I crossed the unmarked finish line at 2.85 miles—the race was a quarter of a mile short. I was all setup for a 5K PR, but a 5K is 3.1 miles.
At first I was disappointed at the shorter distance. My training and diet prepared me for a record I cannot claim. But this race was to support Boston and served as a reminder that while running is a solo sport it is not all about me.
While this did mark my first race at a sub eight minute mile pace (averaged 7:57/mile), the highlights had nothing to do with me. Several people proudly wore their 2013 Boston Marathon gear and hundreds helped raise money for the One Fund. I helped fellow church friend, and new runner, Denise Dockendorff finish the race as she set a PR. The course path was directed by elite Kenyan athletes and I had the honor of meeting Solomon who recently finished the Seoul Marathon and Mbarak Hussein who won the Honolulu Marathon three times.
While I may not have had the opportunity of reaching my own personal goal of setting a PR, I had the honor of being part of something greater than myself.