J and I ran in our first 5K of the year today (the Shamrock Shuffle last month was a 3K, or about 1.8 miles). This one was the Lions Club Run for Sight, which wound through Lexington's beautiful Masterson Station Park. This park, located on the northwest side of town, has a large dog park, equestrian facility, and in-line hockey stadium, as well as the track where our race started and finished. We got to see a little of all of these on the run, and that kept it interesting for us.
It was a beautiful morning, but an approaching storm kicked up an awful wind. This was made worse by the "out and back" nature of the course which gave us the wind at our backs for most of the first mile and a half, and then had us running directly into it when we were most tired. At one point on the way back (somewhere close to 2/3 of the way into the second mile), I seriously considered just stopping dead in my tracks and facing the other way for a moment. How I managed to keep trudging up the hill into that wind is beyond me, but I did it.
In addition to learning a little about all of the great charities that put on races, I've also discovered something about myself over the last 7.5 months. I love these races for the excitement in the air (everyone is there because they really want to be) and for the chance to beat myself and my previous times. Sure, I generally pick out someone to pass and take it personally when someone has obviously picked me to be their person, but I'm absolutely loving seeing a shorter time for my pace with each effort. Even though I ran cross country in high school for six years, I never felt that way, and as a result I generally hated running. This time, while I'm definitely not one of those people who 'crave' exercise (yet), I am loving the race experience enough to make the in-between training worth it.
With that build up out of the way, I'm sure you're wondering how today went. Well, last month at the 3K Shamrock Shuffle, I turned in a great time (for me) and dramatically reduced my pace per mile to 13:08. Now, I realized that the better time was likely closely related to the shorter distance, and I wondered if I would be able to sustain that pace over an additional two kilometers (about a mile and a quarter). I looked up the approximate time for a 5K at a sustained 13:08 pace (about 41 minutes) and made that my goal. At each mile marker and the halfway point, I checked my time and worked to maintain my pace. Imagine my thrill at approaching the finish line and seeing I was still in the 39's! I came in just under 40 minutes (no official time yet), so my new pace to beat will actually be under 13 minutes! Obviously, I have a way to go until I'm posting competitive numbers, but I am thrilled with my steady progress and feel good about the direction I'm headed in.
Together with the improved time, I'm also happy to share that I've now lost 20% of my body weight in the last 9 months. I'm pretty confident that I'll hit 25% before the first of May, if not my overall weight loss goal (a total of 75 pounds). J and I are making steady progress toward our goal of each running 300 miles this year, and he's making good progress toward his weight loss goals, too. By the way, I left him out of the running bit, but he did a great job today, too. He's been unable to join me in races for the most part, but picked right up at the same pace today as his last race (the Black Cat Chase on October 30), so I'm really proud of him!
Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful spring by getting out in the sunshine and walking or running, too!
Title: Hit the Road Jack, by Ray Charles