I run hard because running is hard. If running looks easy, it’s only because someone makes it look easy.
As the kid who always hated the mile test in middle school P.E., I debated long and hard before running a half marathon. I told myself that if running a half marathon was easy, I would see a lot more 13.1 stickers on cars.
(I still smile when I see a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on a car. If you’re a runner, you should too!)
I probably won’t run a marathon, let alone qualify for Boston or anything extraordinary. Most of us who put in the miles weekly do it for health, happiness, sanity, friendships, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from running.
Sometimes, that sense of accomplishment doesn’t come. Or isn’t acknowledged.
The best thing about this race was that my handsome husband signed up to do it as well! It was Clay’s first 5K and really nice having my husband on the course with me.
The course was an out-and-back course and pretty well marked, so it would be hard to get lost. The race started at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and School, and running out was easy- everyone started at the same time, so we were all running in the same direction. Coming back on the narrow trail, I was a bit scared that I’d run into (literally) some of the slower 5K runners or 5K walkers. Fortunately, this didn’t happen because I think most of the walkers opted for the 1 mile fun walk. I wound up behind them during the last 1/4 or so, but was able to pass.
It wasn’t an easy course, and the sweltering heat and humidity made it quite a bit harder. It’s so amazing how hot it can get here, even when a race starts at 8 AM. Your body feels 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature when you’re running, but you really don’t think about it until you finish, drenched with sweat.
Not that I’m fast or anything- just that the super fast girls (i.e. my friend Angela) ran the 10K or didn’t run that morning.
I was still pretty stoked.
I’m also proud to say that Clay finished his 5K in 41:39. He was pretty proud of himself and now has a time to beat in his next 5K. Yep, five minutes after he finished, he was already asking when the next race was.
Soon, he’ll be as addicted as I am.
I stuck around to cheer on my friends Angela and Buddy who did the 10K too. Angela was the first place female for the 10K, finishing with a time of 47:52 (yep, that’s a 7:43 mile pace! Talk about smokin’ speed!)
After everyone finished, there was a post-race pancake breakfast, complete with pancakes, syrup, bacon, fruit, and whipped topping- gotta have that sugar rush after running, right?
Then came the awards ceremony.
The differences between male and female runners go far beyond checking a box on a race entry form- everything from lower testosterone, maximum oxygen, blood, and hemoglobin levels, to higher body fat percentages (although studies show that as distance increases, the differences that separate men and women have less impact on performance).
I’ve never heard of a race that grouped men and women together for overall awards. Whether you’re an elite athlete at the Boston marathon or a nervous 12 year old at your first track meet, awards and placements are separated by gender.
My race bib hangs in my cubicle at work, a symbol of races that I trained extremely hard for and always learned from. I wrote “First Place Female- Overall” on it.
No race results website will change that, and it won’t change my feeling of accomplishment.