Amazing gRace was put on by the Run for God group here in town and they did a great job of keeping God at the center! The 10k ran through part of path of the tornado that came through a couple of years ago. (For those of you who don't know me personally, my daughter and I lost our home and our car. Our church and school, my workplace, were also significantly damaged when the tornado tore through Joplin. That wasn't the point of this post, and honestly, God used that horrible day to bless my family in ways that were unimaginable.) I tell you this now, because as I was running through parts of town that still are not back to normal, and through other places that were left barren but now have brand new construction, I got a little weepy and very reflective. We serve a truly amazing God. (Can He get an Amen!!) I might start crying now just thinking about it. I digress. I may share the story of what God did in our lives that day during another post, but not today.
So yesterday morning didn't have to start too early. I was thankful for an 8:30 start time. :) I got dressed and checked the temp. This is what I saw:
And so, this was my response:
|Skinny Caramel Lattes run through my veins!|
I knew I would be fine once I started running, so I stuck with my plan of capris and the race t-shirt. (I know, nothing new on race day, but I broke the rule. :) I'm a rebel.) When I got to the church, I saw many people who I adore. Most of them were running the 5k, some were volunteering, and a few were doing the 10k. I hadn't planned to run the race with anyone, which is a first for me, so I felt a little lonely on the ride over there, but once I got there and was surrounded by Joplin's running community, that feeling left immediately. :)
The race itself was really good. There was a big turnout. Over 500 runners and over 125 volunteers. I hope those numbers continue to grow for this race in the future.
I started out running faster than I usually run. A glance at my Garmin showed me that I was running 11-12 min pace. That is WAY fast for me. I knew it was the adrenaline and the atmosphere, but I made myself slow down for fear of tiring out too soon. I still ended up passing several runners, which made me feel good, but was behind most of the 10kers. (Not surprising.) Besides, I was running MY race. No one else's and I knew it would be a PR. :)
There were volunteers at every corner cheering us on, including several people I knew, which made it really special. Check this out:
By the last mile or so, I was basically running by myself. I could see people ahead of me, but they were too far ahead to catch, and I knew there were people behind me, but too far behind to run with. At this point, I was REALLY glad that I had brought my headphones. Every other race I have done was a 5k and the crowd seemed to be around constantly. Not this one. It gave me lots of time to reflect on my journey up to this point. I have been doing almost all of my long runs by myself, so it really didn't feel too bad to run a couple of miles solo. Plus, every time I heard cheers from the volunteers, the were for me. ;) One volunteer stands out. Around mile 5, she was holding a sign that said, "Warning! Major sense of accomplishment ahead." That made me smile. Then, right as I ran past, she turned the sign around and it read, "Run like you stole something!" That made me laugh as hard as one can laugh while running. :)
Here I am running through the final block of the race. See, I really am all by myself! But at this point, I could see my family standing near the finish line cheering me on. That was a really great feeling. :)
Final time: 1:25.45! A full 5 minutes faster than I thought I would run!!!
Here are a couple more pics from the award ceremony. This is my finisher's medal. MY FIRST RUNNING MEDAL!!! :) I wore it proudly all day!
This is the prize for the overall winners in the 5k and 10k division. My good friend Kimmy won the 5k and is modeling it for us. :) It was made out of reclaimed hardwood from the tornado devastation by another friend and running-inspiration Amanda. You can find their work on Etsy here. They are AMAZING!
This is the prize for the age group winners. They were also created by Keller Custom Creations. Seriously, go check out their Etsy shop. So awesome!
I think this post has gotten very long, but can you feel the race day excitement? :) This made me even more excited for my half in only 27 DAYS!!