That's the point of every race, really: to finish strong. Today's was truly a testament to that, because who wouldn't run strong with this incredible group of women (and a few good men) out there running with them?
Today, the Salsalicious Racers, a group of us from Salsa/Funk class at the gym, participated in the Root Awakening 5K in Hoffman Estates. Root Awakening is an organization dedicated to ending famine in Somalia. As if that weren't reason enough to run, we agreed to have breakfast afterward. Does it get any better than that?
I had a great run. Slow, yes, but my best race yet. 5K in 44:28.0. Yes, this is the first time I've completed a 5K in less than 45 minutes. It's also 55 seconds faster than my last personal record (the Long Grove St. Paddy's Day run, where I did 45:23.1.)
So yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about that. But not as good as I feel about the amazing friends who joined me in this race. There were marathoners and first-timers, and everything in between. There was even an official photographer (thanks, Roger!) and a cowbell ringing when I crossed the finish line! (Thanks, Sven!)
I felt good right from the start. Twice during the race, my Achilles reminded me of its presence, gently but firmly. "Hey," it seemed to say, "don't forget about me. I'm not perfect, but if you treat me right, I'll treat you right." So I did, and it did.
This was the first race I've done where I ended feeling like I could continue. I didn't want to, mind you, but I felt like I could. Going into the for-real training for the 15K and half-marathon, that's important. And if today taught me one thing, it's to believe in the plan and stick with it. Running eight minutes and walking two gave me the breaks I needed to get to the finish line with a smile on my face. (And apparently a hunger that could only be satisfied by a corned beef hash omelette.)
Esther, Jamie, Linda, Isabel, Kathy, Elizabeth, Eileen and me, plus the menfolk
and Eileen's daughter Emily in the front row.