ORN: 5K, 23:35, 7:37/mile
On a bit of a whim, I decided a week ago to enter this enjoyable small race in the little town of Attica, Indiana, about 30 miles from home. It fit well with our Thanksgiving Day plans. Plus, coming 11 days after a marathon, I wanted to see, again, how quick I could do a 5K in that setting. Earlier this fall I surprised myself with a good 5K just after the Chicago Marathon. Was that a fluke??
The day dawned with drizzle and temps in the low 40s. Low 40s are nice...drizzle, well, we'd tolerate it if necessary. As it happened, work colleague Michelle, a talented triathlete herself, wanted to run as well, so we went down together, having a enjoyable conversation all the way.
I have had a strange attraction for the little town of Attica ever since I was an undergrad at Purdue. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1972, I rode a bike to Attica and back. For some reason, I always associate Attica with that moment of simple, sophomoric enjoyment. As I ran through most of the town today, I also realized Attica is oh-so-similar to the little town of Auburn, Nebraska where I grew up. The houses, the streets...it was all familiar. I almost expected to see my Aunt Alice walk out the front door of a couple of the homes. Nostalgic or not, it was fun to participate in an event in Attica.
About 230 folks came out to run or walk the event, many in a preemptive strike on the gravy and pie which awaited later in the day. The race started on time and off we went.
I wanted to see if I could push myself enough to get under 24:00. So, I set the training assistant function on my Garmin to help me hold the correct pace. The start was down a long, gentle slope (we don't have Real Hills in this part of Indiana, remember) and mile one clicked at 7:32. So far, so good. Mile two was mostly flat, but we retraced The Slope at the end of the mile, yet it came through at 7:34. Encouraging. From there I started to play the game "catch the second person in front of you" and managed to do that with quite a few folks. Mile 3 blew thorough in 7:23. It could be. The last tenth went in 1:05, which my Garmin said was at a 7:12 pace. I beat the goal, my watch showing 23:35.
Michelle finished shortly after and we decided we simply had to have our photo taken with the Official Race Mascot. Several folks suggested it was a dangerous day to walk around as a live turkey, yet the fowl humor didn't seem to bother anyone.
When I got home, I dug out my race records, wondering just what my PR was for 5K. Amazingly, this time beat it by a full 30 seconds. I haven't set a PR at any distance since 2006. Nice to know it is still possible.
It was also humorous to note on my Garmin that my PR race effort had burned off all of 489 calories. Hardly enough to cover one piece of my mother-in-laws Most Delicious Apple Pie. Oh well...I'll enjoy it anyway.
I've reflected a lot as well. My niece's husband underwent serious surgery on Wednesday...he'll be laid up for several months and, in his early 30s, may have some life-long changes in front of him. My heart goes out to him and his family. I interviewed a gentleman on Wednesday who had terrific talents but, in his mid-50s, had been out of work for 18 months now and was feeling down, overqualified, desperate. I ached for him and wondered just what we could do for him. We've invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner who had no family at all to be with this year. I feel deeply for her.
And here I am. Healthy enough to pop out of bed, run a 5K race at age 57, laugh and enjoy it. Having a job that is interesting and challenging and has a promising future. With four generations of family gathering around our table in an hour or so for an enjoyable meal in the context of functional relationships.
I dare not take these blessings casually or with a mood of entitlement. These things are a trust not a possession. I pray I can use them well, for good and not just personal gratification.
Of the many things I'm thankful for, the gift of health and the gift of friends who enjoy it as well is high on the list. My very best to you for a most Happy Thanksgiving.