In all of the races I’ve run, I don’t think I’ve ever run an entire race with someone else. Sure, a lot of times there’s someone out there on the course with me, running the race at the same time. But, side by side? Not the whole thing.
But this weekend Mr. B and I ran a 5k — next to each other the whole time.
This was the second 5k Mr. B’s ever run, and his first since making a really amazing effort to take up running. It was quite a lovely experience. And Mr. B was a fine sport with all of my picture-taking.
When we signed up for the race, I told Mr. B that it was a fairly flat course. That’s sorta what I thought, so it wasn’t an outright lie. More like a jovial omission. (Because I love hills, and “flat” to me is different than to “normal” people.)
The 15k runners took to the starting line first. After they ran off on their course (nicknamed “Jill’s Hills), we 5kers lined up — me asking Mr. B for the 100th time how he was feeling. Nerves? Excitement? Fear? All things I feel before every single race I run.
We started toward the back of the group, so when the gun went off we kinda meandered our way to the starting mat where our timing chips beeped and we were off.
The course started on an uphill segment that seemed to drag on for quite some time. And once we reached what we thought was the crest, up it went again. For at least the first mile. That being said, we made pretty good time.
We turned a corner only to find that there were very gently rolling bumps in that road as well. As we neared the halfway mark, we both started to get thirsty, and the water station at about 1.75 couldn’t have come soon enough. We walked through the water station — my normal routine — and then started running as soon as the water was gone.
It was around that time that I started my normal “talk to myself during races” thing. Poor Mr. B thought he had to respond. He’ll learn it’s just his silly running partner gabbing to herself about the things she sees along the course.
Those hills on the way out? Somehow managed to still be hills on the way back. For me, no problem. But I don’t know if Mr. B will ever believe me again when I tell him a race course is flat. We did walk up most of the last hill. And then ran it in from the top to the finish line — it, very kindly, ended on a downhill.
As we turned the corner toward the finish line, I looked at Mr. B and said “If you can beat me across the finish line, I’ll give you two kisses.” Well, Mr. B is a fabulous sprinter. (Me? I’m more built for storing food for long distances.) And he soon left me in his dust — finishing one second before me. (Truth time: There were more than two kisses awarded.)
Our final times? 34:15 and 34:16. (For what my GPS said was 3.14 miles. We shoulda had pie to celebrate.)
Not my fastest 5k, by any means. But probably one of the most special — and fun — I’ve ever run. I’m very thankful he let me run this race by his side. There is absolutely nowhere else I would have wanted to be that day.