Yesterday I ran the winter Girls on the Run 5K with a young lady from Jones’ school. It was an AWESOME experience (and more than a bit humbling).
I got picked up at 6:30am by the family of another girl that was running and we headed out to the race. We had to get there super early because there is only one way into the area (gotta love suburbia) and 5000 people run this race, close to half of them girls between third and 7th grade. It was about 25 degrees, with a mild wind. Brrr!
We got there and found our school. The GOTR coach was already there and had our packets with our numbers and t-shirts. I was running as someone else (shh! don’t tell anyone) but coincidentally, the woman whose place I took was my age. I met M, the third grade girl I was going to run with. She told me she had run their practice race in 29 minutes, so I knew I could keep up, but that it would also be a good run. We all stood around for about an hour in the cold, waiting for the start. I found out why they needed extra buddy runners – some of these girls are so fast their parents can’t keep up. The fastest ones from our school anticipated finishing in about 25 minutes!
The start was one of the worst I’ve ever been in. Because they started us by schools instead of ability, we spent the ENTIRE run dodging people. The first mile was particularly bad. We were well over 10 minutes for that mile because we were all over the place trying to get around very slow runners and walkers. When we had a clear area, M kept up a nice 8:45 to 9:00 pace. I viewed my role as caretaker (ie, make sure she was ok and make sure she got back to her dad at the finish), than pacer, so I let her run her own race. We ended up walking a very small amount ’cause she had us going at about an 8:15 pace for a bit. I think if I had “managed” her run more and kept her a bit slower, that we could have run the whole thing, but part of the GOTR training is learning how to pace themselves, so I just stayed with her, whatever pace she wanted to go.
We ended up finishing in 30:30ish, which put us in the low 300s out of 3600ish females running. I was 14 in my age group! (A far cry from barely getting in the top 10 with my 26 minute 5k two weeks ago.)
The humbling part? If I don’t keep up the speed training, I certainly won’t be her buddy runner by the time she’s in 5th grade. Once she gets a bit more stamina, she’s going to be one of the fast ones at our school. Anyways, I’m going to email the coach and let her know I’m happy to be a buddy runner anytime they need extras. I had a ton of fun and got to meet a lot of parents that I hadn’t met before, not to mention getting a good run in.
Today I did a quick 4.1 miles on the treadmill, so now I get to take tomorrow off and only have 60 more miles to go for the year!