Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day 5K 2016

Today was my first 5K since last March, and the Good Lord blessed me.

It was a clear morning, cold with a stiff wind. The course was two loops around the campus of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR. My previous PR for a 5K was 24:24, set two or three years ago. My goal today was a PR, but I was also hoping to break 23 minutes, believing it was possible because I've been running pretty strong lately.

Several friends had asked what I was shooting for. Mostly I just said, "Close to 23." But my friend Greg lined up with me at the start and asked what I had planned. I told him I wanted to start out at a 7:30 pace and see how it felt.

The race started and we were off. Before we'd gone a half mile, my watch was telling me we were going at a 7:00 pace. I knew I had to back down. But, as usually happens, I couldn't seem to quite slow down to my target pace. When I reached the first mile marker, my watch showed 7:10 had passed since the start.

Surprisingly, the pace wasn't killing me, so I decided to press on and try to hold it. We completed the first lap, passing the start and finish lines, and pressed on to make the final loop around the campus. The second mile passed in 2:11, according to my watch, but I was feeling it now. There were still 1.1 miles to go.

I decided to try and hold the pace, but it was starting to get difficult now. I made it down the long backstretch and started up the little uphill with about a half mile to go. Another left turn with a short stretch to the only right turn on the course. By the time I made that right turn, I was struggling. That's when I did back down a little. I realized I had a PR unless things went totally bad in the last quarter, so I felt okay to back out a little.

I crossed the finish line mats with a time of 22:46, a minute and 38 seconds faster than my previous 5K PR.

I am truly blessed with great running friends who push me beyond my comfort zone. And I am definitely blessed by Jesus Christ, who died so that we might live, and who permits me to run and improve as a runner.

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