Racing with Friends

This past Sunday was the Double Decker 5K race — the second 5K I did this month. I guess April is indeed the cruelest month. To my hamstrings anyway.

At the beginning of the month I had raced the Art Run 5K here in Auburn with my friend Brunbec, who has been training with the couch-to-5K plan (which I did last summer and I LOVED) and she absolutely rocked it. I set a PR that day, in spite of the fact that I felt like I was dying in the sweltering heat and about to wet myself at any moment. Oh, too much information there? Sorry!

So at the Double Decker 5K this weekend, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to beat my time from the Art Run (30:40, which was pretty fast for me). I didn’t really care so much — I just wanted to run with my friends Clarabella and LitChick (who were also training with the couch-to-5K plan) and have a good time.

Clarabella and I had to get up at butt o’clock to get to the race start on time. They wanted everyone to pick up their timing chips by 7:15 at the latest. I was cursing myself for chooing a hobby that forces me to get up early on Saturdays and Sundays, but we got there on time. Unfortunately, LitChick was nowhere to be found! As we discovered later, she had set her alarm for the wrong time and missed the start! We teased her about it, but we were all pretty bummed. She’d been training and was ready to run. Next time, lady!

C. and I lined up at the back of the pack together but we separated soon after the start, each of us having our own pace and plan to follow. The race was pretty hilly with one big one at mile 1 and another smaller one at about mile 2.5. It was the second one that hurt the worst, though, let me tell you. After about 2.5 miles of race-pace running, a hill is, well, an unwelcome sight! I used my mantra from the half marathon (“I love hills. I love hills. I love hills” — don’t laugh; it works) and made it up. It wasn’t as bad as the Art Run had been w/r/t hills though. I don’t even want to talk about that.

Going up that second hill I saw the bright green shorts of a girl I recognized from the parking lot: a colleague of my friend C. who had snarked to her in the parking lot with a tone that said funny to see YOU here. Remebering her rudeness from before the race, I made it my mission to pass the chick. When she started walking up that hill and rubbing her side like she had a stitch, I had the chance and I did it. Who’s the smug one now? (It’s me. I’m the smug one now. Not a point of pride, I realize.)

As we neared the finish, the really fast men racing the 10K started to pass me. I saw how hard they were gunning it and then we all passed (their) mile marker 6 — the only mile marker I saw the whole time. I guess the 10K course had markers but ours didn’t, and the two courses only overlapped at certain points. I knew we were headed for the same finish line, which must be only 0.2 miles away, and I started gunning it too. I felt really strong at the finish and was really excited to learn that I had in fact beaten my previous PR and set a new one: 28:07. So close to being under 28:00. Well, next time, I say!

Clarabella had a great race, too, running significantly faster than her predicted time and finishing strong. I was proud of her! We were both really pleased with our runs.

After the race it was time for breakfast. Check out this plate of hashbrowns I housed:

Big Bad Breakfast

There is little I love to eat more than a fried potato product, I tell you. These are from Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford. They had plenty of vegetarian options and apparently their meat and dairy is all local and organic, so omnivores can feel like ethical superstars eating there, too. Recommended.

I have to say about these two races: it has been so fun to have my friends out there running with me. I have obviously fallen in love with the sport over the past year. There is nothing that makes me feel more competent and free and powerful. And now the people around me are catching the bug, too. Love it. I remember what a challenge it was to get started, how exciting it was to run my first race, and I know how exciting it is still to be out there and doing it. Now when do you wanna race?


  1. Sounds like you did awesome during that race, beating the smug girl and all! I am so glad mine didn’t have any hills. I haven’t really ran any at all yet, and I don’t look forward to eventually having to.


  2. Well the BEST part about hills is you get to run back down them! It’s perfectly OK to walk up them and run back down, but if you want to run up them, I have been told the best thing to do is take shorter strides and lean forward a bit. Let your quads and hamstrings do the work, not your calves. When I consciously try do do this, I can actually notice it helps. And the mantra doesn’t hurt either!


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