The tough part this week was the back to back 10 mile days on Friday and Saturday, only the second week of my training to run the back to back End of the World Marathon and the Day After the End of the World Marathon on December 21st and 22nd, respectively.
A couple of cooler days in the middle of the week gave us a brief respite from the sultry conditions that we've been enduring for the last couple of weeks, but only a very brief respite. We'll take the cooler days now whenever we can get them, and be grateful for them, but now things are back to normal summer conditions...hot and humid.
The highlight of the week was the Cabot Country Cruisers annual Memorial Day run on Monday. It was one year ago at this event that I made my first run with the club, and I've been running with them ever since. We start at a local elementary school and make about a 2.5 mile journey to the city's veterans memorial. This year we had more than 70 runners and walkers make the trek, more than 3 times last year's count. It was a fantastic experience and made me proud to be a member of our great local running club.
We continue to work with the high school cross country team on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Wednesday was speed work for the kids. I had to help time so I only ran the warm up and cool down miles with them. Most of them came to a conclusion I drew long ago, that speed work is not the most enjoyable part of training. But they hung in there and worked hard. On Friday we did a 5 mile route that included some pretty good hills.
It was a pretty tough route, made tougher by the 5 miles I did before practice. (Remember, I had two 10-milers planned this week.) But I fell back with the kids bringing up the rear and worked with them to help them get through. That's the best part for me anyway, helping the kids accomplish more than they thought they could.
Training Week: May 28 - June 3
Then Saturday was race day, the Cheetah Chase 5K starting at the Little Rock Zoo. It was the toughest 5K course I've ever run and my time showed it, 31:24.05, about 7 minutes slower than my PR. But there were mitigating factors that kept me from being disappointed in my performance.
It wasn't nearly as hot as it could have been, but the humidity was through the roof. Long before crossing the finish line, I was drenched in sweat, looking more like I'd been swimming than running.
The second thing that negatively impacted my time was the 7 miles I ran earlier that morning, before the race. (Remember again the two 10 milers I had to get in?) I knew the race was going to be a challenge before that 7 was over. The humidity and the miles from the previous day were taking there toll before I finished the first 6 and I dropped to a run/walk strategy to finish the miles. I was worn out before I got home just in time to head out for the race.
Last, the hills. The route wound through a neighborhood called Hillcrest. An appropriately named neighborhood I might add. The first half mile was downhill from the school, a nice easy downhill that created a false sense of security. In fact, a lady running beside me down the hill remarked how nice the course was. I told her the back side was where the hills would catch up to us.
I was wrong.
The first half mile was downhill, followed immediately by a steep uphill. For the remainder of the course, until the last quarter of a mile, we ran over an unending series of steep climbs followed by steep descents. It felt more like a hill repeat workout than a race. Still, it was a well organized race with plenty of support. And I can't say enough nice things about the Little Rock Police Department. It went all out to help with the race, officers stationed at nearly every intersection making certain traffic didn't impede runners and keeping us on course. Awesome job LRPD!
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -- Colossians 3:17The best thing about this race is that it reminded me what I run for. It's really easy sometimes to get caught up in times and PRs, but that's not what I'm out there for. My job on the course, be it a 5K or a marathon or anything in between, is to bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My slower time gave more people the opportunity to pass me and see the pictures and the verse on the back of my shirt. I was able to tell our story to three different people and another woman who follows us on Facebook introduced herself as well. By crossing the finish line later, by running slower, our cause was given more exposure.
It might have been slow, but I got in my planned miles for the week and we were able to spread the message we are here for. This week definitely qualifies as a success.
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.