On Thursday, we all participated in the annual runlawrence.org Thanksgiving Day 5K. Daphne and I ran, David & Sophie walked and Mom & Missy cheered. The weather was beautiful that morning, and the nearly 1200 runners that showed up were proof! As one of the faster runners on the field, I started toward the beginning. I was hoping to finish with a sub 8 minute mile. Based on my training, I was looking at a finish time of just under 25 minutes. Not an Elite runner by any means (the guys finish around 16-17 minutes, and the first female usually crossed just under 20 minutes), but I no longer consider myself a slow runner. I’m reasonably competitive, so I line up close to the front so as to not battle all the slow runners. Dave stuck Daphne in the middle, waited to watch her cross the start line, and then he and Sophie meandered to the back with the strollers. Daphne and I both had been training for this event and both of us hoped to finish in the top three in our division and earn a medal for our efforts. I had taken her out the previous Wednesday to run the course. She finished it then in under 36 minutes, at a very respectable pace of 11:16 per mile, but she complained a lot and wanted to slow down. I worried about how she would do without me there to push her onward. I asked her many times if she wanted me to come back and finish the race with her after I finished. She said no until the day of, at which point she told me she DID want me to come back. (I had planned on it already). I crossed the finish line at 25:41. Although I fell short of my goal, I was reasonably pleased. Coming off of my marathon a mere month ago, and having only three weeks to relearn how to run fast, a pace of 8:18 per mile is acceptable. I’ll do better next time. The real story, though, is Daphne. Because after crossing, I went back for her. When I crossed, I expected her to be around the 2 mile mark, putting her around 2.5 when I got back to her. I was shocked to find her so close! I passed a friend named Josie on my way back to find Daphne. Josie runs fairly consistently at a 9 minute mile. So I guessed Daphne would be a ways back. I rounded the next corner, and was shocked to see her right there! I sidled up next to her and matched her pace, but pushed her ever so slightly. I told her what a great job she was doing, and how she was faster than I expected her to be, and (I knew), most IMPORTANTLY, how close she was to the finish! She was coaching herself….I heard her telling herself softly that she could do it, and it was just a little further and so on. When we were about to round the final corner, I gave her a piece of advice….I told her to take that final turn tight, and then as soon as she got around the corner, to kick it and sprint to the end….she could make it across that line at full speed. (She knew that the tradition of sprinting to the finnish goes back to my Diana running days. Di & I always raced to the finish, and it pushed me to give just a little more, even when I thought it was all gone). So, after we rounded the final corner I pushed her onward, “Go, Daphne go! You can do it!”, Then I caught a glimpse of the clock. It was still under 32 minutes, and I realized just how fast she was, and I exclaimed as much! “Holy Crap, you’re fast! Go Girl!!!!” I yelled, I knew she could hear me, because her headphones were now out of her ears and wrapped around her leg, but she still kept running, gaining speed with every step and crossing the finish line strong. I knew she had started in the middle, so her clock time would have AT LEAST a minute differential from her chip time, and after watching her struggle first hand (or so I thought) with finishing that course in 36 minutes, I now knew she’d been holding out on me, because I knew she’d just run pretty close to a 30 minute 5K. I was dying to see what her actual time was. At 9:45, they started posting the times, but they cut off around the 26 minute mark. I knew Daphne HAD to be in medal range, though, so we stood in line to find out. We got to the front of the line, she gave her name and age group and was promptly congratulated and given her 3rd place medal. About 10 minutes later, we learned her actual time – 30:31.7….about 16 seconds off of my time last year! That kid is going to be running circles around me before too long! After she was done with that, she ran into a friend her age who was running the kids fun run (about a one mile run). She decided “what the heck?” and ran with him to keep him company…and she sprinted out to beat him on the finish…Now THAT’S my girl!
Not to be left out, here’s a picture of Sophie & David crossing the finish, at 51:10 (she sprinted to the finish) and 51:38 respectively. We were proud of them for participating, but next year, I’m betting they’ll be in the “cheer with Missy & Mimi” camp, while Daph and I compete to see who’s faster…..stay tuned!