A couple months ago I made a plan to mark my big 3 – 0 by running my first full 5K (3.1 miles). I organized The Dirty Thirty 5K and asked for anyone who wanted to join me. Last Sunday the day of the event arrived.
The final Dirty Thirty crew was an eclectic baker’s dozen of dear people family, friends, and fellow Weight Watchers. We took the lap around the lake at our own pace solo or in pairs. Everyone was free to move to their own ability and level of comfort. My declared goal was to run the entire 5K* without walking or stopping. My second goal that I didn’t tell very many people was to finish within 30 minutes.
Dirty Thirty 5K Runners, Walkers, Strollers, and Bikers! Photo taken by Sabrina Friend, Dirty Thirty participant
Right at the start my brother and I fell in step with each other and agreed to complete the lap together. His iPod was set to give him progress updates and he shared them with me as we ran. The first update came at the 1.5 kilometer mark, we were running a 9.2 minute mile. I was surprised and invigorated by this report. We were running faster than I guessed and still comfortable, chatting in short bursts. That’s about when Proud Mary came up in my playlist I did what any giddy endorphine-fueled person would have done – I sang along! Actually I yelled in a raspy head-cold-affected monotone. ”Left a good job in the city… Big wheel keep on turning… ROLLING ON A RIVER!” Anyone looking was treated to a blur of pale faced redheads grinning from ear to ear. It was joyous and liberating. By the end of the song we were approaching the halfway point and still going strong.
Around the two thirds mark I could feel myself beginning to struggle. I took a few deep yoga breaths before spying the building that marked our finish line. With the landmark in view I began to sharpen my focus. Moments later my very most favorite running song began its soft first notes.
I am outing myself here and removing any lingering doubts that I might be even the tiniest bit cool. My favorite running song is Riverdance! You know, the theme song from the Michael Flatley Irish dancing spectacular? Yep that song. It breaks my usual running song rules by starting out very quiet and slow but it builds such an amazing intensity ultimately bursting forth like a geyser of pipes, drums, and fiddles. When I listen to the music my feet no longer touch the ground. All I see in my mind’s eye are a mass of feet dancing together with militaristic precision. I also envision smooth dirt paths winding over rolling green hills. It is an out of body experience and my endorphine levels probably go off the charts during the last two minutes of the song. That high is the reason I will keep running. Not many experiences are that great every single time.
By the end of the song we were almost finished and with our destination in sight we jogged up the only “hill” of the route and blasted across the finish point with the smiles still on our faces. I got a celebratory high-five from one of the other runners who finished just ahead of us. Grabbing my ipod I froze the stopwatch at 30 minutes and 28 seconds! I made both of my goals – yes I am rounding down the 28 seconds, wanna make some thing of it?
When everyone finished their laps we gathered on the grass to relax and share a picnic. Attendees got to know each other better exchanging recipes, healthy eating tips, and exercise ideas. It was a fun collection of foods and the star of the show were some fabulous Gluten-Free Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies made by Diane per Cheryl’s encouragement. They are in the background of the above photo, I would have taken a better picture but they disappeared before I had a chance! I’ll have to try making a lower fat version one day soon. I made some Chocolate Espresso Cake that was okay but a bit dry. I wasn’t about to have a dry cake for my big deal birthday so I rolled up my sleeves and created a wonderfully moist and rich version – but you’ll have to wait one more day for that recipe.
Ahhh the suspense!!!
*For locals who are wondering we ran the inner paved track at Green Lake but my brother and I added running up and back behind the community center to stretch the distance to a full 5k.