|Spreading the sparkle love along the scenic Delaware River|
I started out a couple of rows back from the front of the pack, but not too far from the front, since it wasn't chip timed, and I let the energy of the pack sweep me through the beginning. There is one small, steep hill in the first quarter mile, and the rest of the terrain is rolling, so I kept the effort moderate up the hill and then pushed. I didn't listen to any music, but (no judging, please) I had Katy Perry's "Firework" stuck in my head and let that pump me up.
I felt myself tiring after a mile, and I made conscious efforts to push harder every time I started to slow. I find it a really hard balance to run fast enough but not so hard as to burn out too quickly.
This was an out-and-back course, which I like, because I know exactly how much further until the end. Somehow, turning around and going back the way you came feels easier on me mentally than a loop, where the finish is somewhere up ahead. I think I tend to reserve more energy in a loop rather than use it when I need it. In any case, this was an out-and-back, and although I slowed down a lot on a very slight incline, I knew that I had a downhill and then a straightaway before the finish.
I let gravity take me down the hill. A guy passed me at the bottom, and I just kept the pace quick and even. It's a long straightaway, and it's easy to start sprinting too soon. I passed one of the race directors and gave her a thumbs up, and I pushed a little harder. I realized that I had enough of a kick to sprint all the way in to the finish, so I turned it on all the way, caught up to the guy who passed me, passed him, and crossed the finish line in 25:05, sparkle skirt flying.
Congrats to Jo for setting a 5k PR, Ashley for running her first 10k, and Erin for 2nd in a very competitive age group. I came away with first in my age group and a great feeling. I was so energized all day, and I just felt pleased with the effort and how good it felt to run.