First Race of the Year

It’s Marathon Monday, the best day of the year. Most years I look forward to this day for weeks. After last year’s emotional day, I’ve been waiting for today for a full year. And it’s finally here! Since then, I ran my first marathon, and I would love to qualify for Boston someday, too. Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures.

On Saturday, I did my first race of the year. My training plan called for a 3-mile test in the middle of an hour-long run, so I thought a 5K race with a suitable warm-up and cool-down would be the perfect thing. Frankly, after an interminable winter, I was really eager to race again. So I picked a race a half-hour away and decided to just have fun.

It was the first race I’ve ever run where I spent more time warming up and cooling down than actually racing, which was a little weird, but based on my results I might have to try it again . . . at least the quality warm-up part. (I usually do warm up, but this one felt different, better.) So to follow the plan, I registered, affixed my number to my shirt, ran slowishly down the hill from the school sponsoring the event, ran slowishly back up, wondered if we were finishing on an uphill or starting on a downhill—turns out, it was both!—and then waited a few minutes before lining up at the front of the 130-something field.

I have a history of going out too fast, so I held back on the big downhill. It was hard watching about 10 people run away from me, but I didn’t want to explode in the second or third mile. I caught one of the guys before the bottom of the hill and another on a loop that we were making through the park. It was a nice course, and the weather was perfect. I was really close to moving into ninth place in the last thousand yards, but I was content to settle with third in my age group and tenth overall, finishing in 20:52.

Let’s hope it’s a sign of what’s to come in the new season.

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