Today was my race day. I woke up early in the morning, walked 3 miles to the park, raced, and walked 3 miles back to my house. It was a tough 5k... I'm not used to running fast so this really was something new for me. I managed to finish in 2nd place with a time of 18:52... a really slow 5k time. I hadn't realized how hard the hills were til around two miles into the race. I led most of the race, but the person behind me caught up in the last mile, and although in the last 400m, I was catching up to him, he still finished 18 seconds ahead of me for the win. I wasn't too sad about the whole ordeal, since I biked around 30 miles the day before, but I was glad that this race was over. I paid $12 to get into the race, and I got a t-shirt, free water, free food, I won a door prize (vegetable grilling wok), a couple gift certificates, a free smoothie, a lunch box, and a couple free chips and salsa tickets for Chili's. I put training and a little bit of money, and I came out with a lot more than what I put in. It was definitely a good day.
I started out the race as the leader, following the cop car, feeling pretty good, but my hamstrings weren't feeling as good, since I was still recovering from the bike ride I had the day before. I was able to push through and act like it was the final 5k of the marathon, and it was a great feeling as I rushed through the finish line. Even though it was a small race, there were still some supporters and it looked like we had a good community backing it all up. The community was great and it felt good to be a part of that. I met a couple people before and after the race, and was able to talk it up with a couple of them, and enjoy that morning. After I finished, I went back up and began to cheer for the other people who were finishing up the race. There were so many different kinds of people. Some bigger than others, some pushing running strollers, some young, some old, some who had a goal to beat, others who didn't. I was able to see a lot of them come to the finish line and cheering for them was just as good as running that race.
Sometimes, people come into races with the sole mission of winning, and they ignore the little things around them. I'm glad that I was able to spend a little bit of quality time with a few people and make friends with them. There weren't too many professional level people running the rest, but there was definitely a group of people that enjoyed the run and the experience. It was nice to meet and talk with them, see faces of those who ran their first 5k and celebrate with them.
West Hills 5k: A small race. Quality people.