A few months ago I started training for a 10 mile race in Philadelphia, which takes place in early May. My running buddy signed me up for some shorter races to get my feet wet and, on Sunday, I completed my first competition of the season. While I have gotten much more confident with running I was uber nervous for the race, particularly when minutes prior to the start of it I heard two ladies talking about the hills that we'd encounter. I hate hills. I curse them. My running guru promised me there'd be no #$%@*&^ hills on this course!
I started strong, mostly because the race started downhill and I had the Ting Tings blaring through my earphones. But halfway into mile one, my breathing was so shallow from the inclines that I thought I'd have to stop. As time passed I was able to breathe more deeply. It helped that the crowd had dispersed; soon it was just me, the open road, and scenic farmland.
The guru and I had worked two nights prior with speed exercises at a local track. We did two 1/4 mile and one mile runs as fast as we could. I thought my heart would leap out of my chest. But the exercises paid off in Saturday's race. I was shooting for a 38-minute finish but completed the race in 35:50, a personal best!!! Overall I finished 38 out of 102. Ed finished in 12th place! Yowza!
It gets better...
I was completely satisfied with my speed and placement in the race and was ready to leave when Ed and I learned that we had finished at the top of our age groups! This called for a lot of celebrating!
We stopped in Allentown, the next town over, to grab the vegan Nepenthe at Cali Burrito.
My darling friend Susan cooked us a victory dinner: whole wheat pasta with tomatoes, spinach, garlic and an amazing soy cheese topping. While she and Ed had some vino and beer I relished in a yummy non-alcoholic ginger brew. (Both products are available at Whole Foods).
On to the next race, a 10k! If we continue this calibur of celebratory rituals I will be racing indefinitely.
P.S. Thanks to Ed for the awesome HHJ running shirt (pictured above).