That evening, while standing among other racers, I did not feel a shred of excitement. Unlike every other race, my nerves were not getting the best of me. In fact, I had no desire to be there nor did I have the intention of being competitive. I just stood behind the starting line, thinking to myself that this was going to be like any other run I did. I was just here because I paid to be in this race.
When the race began, Peter and I separated. We did not intend on running together since we both have a different idea of 5k pace.
|Peter made it in this newspaper shot. Look below the X-ing sign. He is in blue with|
I checked my watch periodically, seeing what my pace was. It definitely was not up to par with where I was at the Frederick 5K or the Nick Adenhart run, but I pushed on knowing that this race was not for me anymore. This was for Alpha.
When hills felt exhausting, I imagined Alpha pulling me up as I held his leash. He would have never let a hill slow him down. He was more curious as to what was on top of that hill that he could smell. So I never let myself slow down. Instead, I only got faster.
As I approached the final stretch, I was exhausted with grief and uncomfortable from the humidity, but I started to sprint towards the finish line.
I finished in 24:34.
I met up with my running pal, Chris, who finished in about 18 minutes (wow!). As we spoke for just a minute or two, Peter made his way towards the finish line.
I thought the picture they captured was hilarious!
Peter just caught a glimpse of me and threw his hand up to say hi. I loved that the photographer caught that exact moment.
He finished in 26:53 and his goal was just to get under 30 minutes. I was so proud of him. It seemed to be the first time Peter and I smiled that day. We were both really impressed by our performance and were glad that we didn't miss out on the race.
As we left, we grabbed free apple fritters (my gluten snack for the first time in forever!) and talked about how we needed that kick in the ass. Still, we both had holes in our heart from losing Alpha that morning.
About 2 weeks later, I was notified by Fred Krumpe at Krumpe's Donuts that I actually won an age group award. I came in second for females aged 20-29! Without a thought, I dedicated the medal to Alpha because without his help dragging me up those hills in thought during that race, I may have not received that award