WOW WOW WOW!!! Where to start?!?! Words seem inadequate. I'm just not sure how to describe how exciting and fun it was, how exhilarating it felt to run in a race. I think perhaps the term "runners high" gets misused...I'm not sure if during the run is when I feel it, but it was definitely how I felt crossing that finish line. The glow is lasting all day.
The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run was a terrific event. The morning was foggy and cool, but hot coffee helped. There was a short kids' race (and all finishers got a goodie bag), plus a 5K run or walk and a 10K run. I highly recommend it, it's a friendly scene. There were people of all ages and sizes milling around before the race: moms and dads pushing jogging strollers, people with dogs, lots of kids, young adults, elderly people...and me, feeling excited and a little sick to my stomach, telling myself that it was just like a regular morning running, except a little longer and a little bit lighter outside. I had to run for the bathroom twice. I'm glad I rode my bike to and from the event--it's only about a mile and a half flat road each way, but it helped reduce the pre-race jitters and gave an outlet to the post-race rush.
Then it was time to run! I found a place in the back, flinched when the starting gun went off, then trotted along with everyone. There were a few people in the neighborhood outside cheering the runners, which was nice. I was toward the back of the running pack, and there were some other gals going about my pace. An older gal running with her dog had to stop once for...er...him to do his business, and detoured briefly to toss the bag, and she still passed me up.
What was really cool was looking across this huge field to the Coast Trail, and seeing this long line of runners going around the field and up the trail. I stopped and tried to get a decent shot from the back of the pack, but the photo really doesn't do it justice. I kept a comfortable pace the whole time, not knowing whether I'd feel really wiped out near the end.
Into the campground, pausing briefly at the water station, then down to the turnaround, back past the 2-mile marker (which was so cute, I had to stop and take a picture). More water, plus a few pieces of candy corn. Then onto the last street for the run back up to the school. Wait...there's the stop sign! Is it really that close?!? I thought Kelly Avenue was WAY longer! So I kicked it up a notch, made the turn, then the next turn, then put in as much speed as possible through the finish, bellowing a hearty, "WOO HOO!!!" as I crossed and went down the chute. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "that wasn't as grueling as I thought it would be. And I finished in way less time than I thought it would take!"
I stopped and had a snack, hung around through the awards, and checked out my official time: 39:29. I was 203rd out of 275 overall, and 34th/46 in the women 40-49. I know that's not going to impress any of the jocks out there, but I was utterly delighted.
Oh, I am so hooked now. I grabbed a flyer for a new year's day run over in Palo Alto. Not sure how that will fit in with our holiday plans, but I'd love to race once a quarter...and there's the choice next year, should I train to do a better 5K or go for the 10K?
Just before I left, the gal who won 2nd place in the age 70-79 division stopped and talked with me. "I'm 75," she said. "I think this is my last one." "Gosh, I hope I'm still running races when I'm 75!" I replied. I sure hope I see her at next year's run.
p.s. - I'll post pictures tomorrow...I can't find the usual controls in Blogger for adding pictures.