Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July tie for my favorite holidays. They come with all of the positives and none of the obligations of other holidays. Thanksgiving is simply food, family and friends, and relaxation. The Fourth is all about summer fun, BBQs, celebrating, and generally being happy to be an American. There are no presents to be bought, events you are *supposed* to take the kids to, lines you have to wait in, eggs to hide, Valentines to make, etc., etc. I’m truly a lazy person at heart.
So the Fourth! For the past few years we have been in Chicago for the holiday, but this year we were home. I missed seeing my parents and cousins, but it was fun being home and hanging out with my sister and our good friends.
Saturday and Sunday were all about relaxation and fabulous lunch eats at the Foodies’ house. Smoked chicken, lima bean salad (changed my opinion on lima beans), homemade cornbread, watermelon, margaritas with fresh lime juice and Mrs. Foodie’s ah-maz-ing cookies. The best I’ve ever had. All of the girls had a blast outside in the pool and on the trampoline. These little gymnasts are too cute.
On Monday, I was up bright and early for the Watermelon 5k in Winter Park. A big thank you to Track Shack for my bib! As always, Track Shack put on a well organized and fun race.
I planned to put forth a full effort, but I wasn’t expecting much given the brutal humidity and not having been on the track since March. I looked at my watch shortly after the race started and saw that I was running a 6:40 pace. I felt okay, but knew I couldn’t keep that pace up. I figured I’d just go with what felt good and if I crashed and burned at mile 2 or 3 – no big deal. This was just a fun race, after all – who cares? Which then got me thinking about why it was a “fun” race – because there was no chip time? Because there were no awards? Because there was no official record of your running time? All things I’ll be pondering over the next couple of weeks.
Anyway, by the time I got to mile 3 I was done. I spent the first half of that mile wondering if I should just phone it in or keep going as best I could, even though I knew I had slowed down. I saw a couple of friends during the third mile which distracted me from the discomfort. Right around mile 2.6 I saw a friend and fellow runner who cheered me on and gave me the push I needed to pick it up a notch and finish the last half mile. (Only two laps around the track – that’s nothing! The things we tell ourselves.) If you’ve ever doubted how much of an impact you make cheering for runners during a race- don’t. People who take the time to be out there and cheer on racers are THE BEST and they get me through every time.
Part of my third mile was slower than seven minutes but I was able to pick it up during the last portion of it and for the last .1 stretch:
I was shocked when I got to the finish and saw that I was going to beat my best 5k time. I was so happy and proud of myself!
Despite the time and full 3.1 plus distance on my watch, I’m calling my time 21:29 because I think I might have started my watch a second or two late. I typically press the start button when I cross over the starting mat, but because it was not a chipped race there was no starting mat which threw me off a little bit. Plus, my watch lost the signal during the national anthem (which gave me goosebumps, I might add) and I may have hit the button right after I passed the starting flag. Only runners would obsess about that second and potentially imperfect data.
Still, even a 21:29 is 12 seconds faster than my pervious PR from last September. When I started racing three years ago, I never thought I’d run much faster than an 8 minute per mile pace, especially for more than one mile. It’s crazy what a little work, some early mornings and great coaching (thanks, Bill!) can do.
After the race I dripped around Central Park, caught up with some friends and saw my sister, nieces and brother-in-law (who pulled his hamstring during the race…ouch). I did a mile cool down run and then came home to get ready for a day of fun (after the cleaning and cooking).
I spent the rest of the holiday with a house full of little girls, one baby boy, friends and family. Perfection.
We ended the night at Lake Eola watching the fireworks.
What a fantastic day!
What is your favorite holiday?
Anyone else race?