A Nice Surprise – SEF 10K

Forgive me if this post is longer than usual, but I want to give Saturday the justice it deserves.

Do you set goals for yourself?

I’m not talking about ideas or wishes using words like “someday” or “maybe.” I’m talking about setting specifics. Timelines with steps.

Saturday, I nailed one of the steps I set toward a big goal of mine. The funny thing is – it surprised me.

It was our family’s fourth annual trip to the Sherman Arts Fest and Sherman Education Foundation run. The first and second year we went so I could run the 5k and the kids could do the 1 mile fun run. Last year and this year I ran the 10k and then did the fun run with my two youngest (active recovery).

My goal was to at least break 50:00. I set a PR in August with a time of 50:08 on a hilly course. With the nice cool front that blew in the night before – Hello Fall, nice to meet you – this cold weather runner was ready.

My first mile landed on 7:39. Whoa, girl, I thought, back off a bit. For perspective, my 5k PR from Labor Day was 7:33 pace per mile. I felt strong though, so I just tried to run steady the next few miles. I kept my Garmin screen on my pace, and used the lap button for each mile. I didn’t check my overall time, and about halfway through the race I decided not to check it until after I crossed the finish. I knew my splits were strong, but I’m an English major so calculating my finish time while running at that pace was not going to happen. When I saw the race clock as I finished, I couldn’t believe it.

I saw my husband and kids right as I switched my Garmin screen to check my finish time. I was immediately overcome with emotion.

My official race time was 47:50. 1st in my age group, and 4th female finisher. My pace for each mile split: 7:34, 7:49, 7:39, 7:36, 7:41, 7:37. Not perfectly even, but the first time I’ve had all 7s as the first number at this distance. My time was over two minutes faster from a month ago! (Again, thank you Fall for showing up when you did.) But that’s not what got me emotional.  It was the realization that my dream – the “somehow, someday” idea of qualifying for Boston – is slowly becoming a realistic goal.

Put those steps in place. They are important. Small goals along the way give you motivation to continue.

The fun run with the kids was just as rewarding.

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My seven year-old was gone in a flash.

I ran/walked with my 10 year old daughter Abby who always wants to run a 5k until we start running. I encouraged her to at least run by the race photographers and smile to make good pictures, then she wanted to walk again. I managed to get a few running pictures myself.

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The best part was on the last straightaway when we passed another young girl walking. I told Abby we should run in to the finish, and she started encouraging the other girl. “Come on, let’s go. You can do it,” she said. “There’s food and water at the end.”

That’s my girl!

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