5k #6 in the 5k challenge marks the halfway point and the end of the year - convenient how that worked out, no? i swear i didn't plan it that way.
|smiling, ready to go!|
the sixth 5k in my challenge was an event hosted by a non-profit near and dear to my heart: girls on the run. if you haven't heard of girls on the run, check out their website right now (yes, i'm giving you permission to leave my blog). in a nut shell, girls on the run encourages girls to be happy, confident and healthy through physical activity (running). it's all about encouraging girls to chase their dreams. there are no limits (and truly they're aren't), which is an incredible mantra i stand behind and a mantra i want every girl (and woman!) to know and believe. the south eastern michigan chapter of girls on the run hosted this race last saturday on the campus of eastern michigan university. super close location to me, great organization - no way i wasn't going to choose this race for december's 5k!
|learn, dream, live, run! it's a beautiful thing.|
after two indulgent holiday parties on thursday and friday night, i decided it would be a good idea to do a double workout on sunday. so i enrolled my sister into going to the early morning circuit class with me before my race at 10am. bad idea. circuit class was all leg focused; suspension leg curls, rdls and lots and lots of squats. when i left class, my legs were wobbly and my body was exhausted.
and then it was time to go run 3.1 miles. smart, right?
the other thing that was smart of me was to be 75% prepared and packed for the 5k. meaning, i left the house without my hat, gloves and ipod shuffle. 1) it was a cool 38 degrees when the race started and 2) i never run a race without my ipod. i didn't have enough time between my circuit class and the race start to run home, so needless to say, i had to suck it up and run a little chilly and without tunes to keep me amp'd up. fortunately, i happend to find a pair of gloves shoved in the pocket of a raincoat i had been forgetting to take out of my car - sometimes, laziness pays off, my friends.
|my only cold weather savior|
turns out i didn't need my music for this race - between the energy of all the girls running, the cheering and motivation coming from the spectators and my own adrenaline from how motivated i was by the event, i got to the finish line without too much of a problem.
but that's skipping ahead.
i first want to say that i was floored by how many girls were in the race. schools from all over south eastern michigan were represented with tons of girls on each team. there was diversity in age and race and diversity in the spectators that came to support the girls (parents, brothers, mothers, etc). i nearly cried when i saw an older brother (maybe 9 or 10) running with his younger sister. i also got emotional when i saw all the fun and creative team costumes the racers had. it made me so happy to see the spirit of creativity, team work, and imagination coming through in this crowd. its so easy for the younger generation to get consumed in technology that i fear amazing extra curriculars like art and team clubs (such as girls on the run) will be forgotten.
the race was sectioned off into three waves to make sure the course didn't get too crowded (it was crowded the first mile, but that's typical of every race). every racer got the same bib number, the #1 - the idea is that it's not about the finish time you have or beating someone else. it's about getting to the finish line and making it across. that makes everyone a winner. this also means there are no timing chips. if you're looking for a race to reach a time goal, this wouldn't be a good choice. this race is all about supporting and encouraging others!
the course itself wasn't fantastic. similar to the last 5k i did, there was a giant never ending hill in the last mile. i was surprised that a introductory 5k for younger kids would feature a big "i hate this" type of hill, but i'm no expert on race course design. the race finished in the football stadium of eastern michigan. you did a 3/4 lap around the track before running underneath a pink ballooned finish line, your face projected on the jumbo screen as you ran across. totally the type of thing i love. anytime i can run in a stadium or get my mug projected on a screen i'm totally in race heaven :)
every race participant got a medal - even me! and after the race there was a mini-expo with local sponsors and larger sponsors, like goody, who gave out hair ties and headbands (i swipped a brand new red elastic headband. score!).
|proudly hanging next to my other medals!|
girls on the run wouldn't be possible without volunteers; coaches are volunteers, race coordinators are volunteers... it was so cool to see all the student athlete volunteers that were out there encouraging all the racers. if i was a little girl and saw a college athlete cheering me on, man would i feel cool. i would want to be just like them! (heck, i want to be just like them now) i only hope the volunteers know just how important they are to an event like this. i'm considering the thought of being a volunteer coach next spring. no idea if this is possible with all the travel i do, but i'm looking into it. i can't think of a single better way to spend my time giving back!
my "unofficial" garmin time was 28:58. roughly the same time i had been running the other 3 mile runs i did over the course of the week. i'd say 28:58 was pretty good, all factors considered (morning leg workout and no ipod).
i can't believe i'm 1/2 way through the 5k challenge! who knows what excitement and races 2013 will have in store for me. i'm also going after my 5k pr in 2013. it will be one of the hardest things i will ever train for, but once i smash that pr, it will probably be one of the single best moments in my entire life. i can't wait to work for it! here's to the second half of the 5k challenge! bring it on!