It was my plan all along to run the Gasparilla Distance Amber Challenge in Tampa at the end of February, and I was falling a little behind on my training schedule. The Amber Challenge consists of a 15k followed by a 5k on the first day, then a half marathon the following day. Obviously, I have done challenges like this before, however, I was always a bit more trained. So at the last minute, when I found out that there was a Valentines Day 5k as part of the A1a half marathon weekend in Fort Lauderdale, I signed up in a heartbeat.
There aren't a lot of places to plan a 5k course through downtown Ft Lauderdale, so the course was one that I had ran numerous times before. My familiarity with the course helped me to break up the distance a little more and provided some much needed distraction.
REMEMBER... I don't usually run 5K races because it usually takes me about 3 miles to warm up during a run and shake out the aches and pains. And because of this, I needed all the distraction that I could get.
As I meandered my way through the course, and cursed the nagging pains in my shins and lower legs that have become my standard for the beginning of any run, I chatted with fellow runners. I wound up meeting a woman who was really struggling, and I offered her a little encouragement along the way.
It was a short race, the crowd was pleasant, the weather was nice. I was home before my husband even woke up for the day... so that was good. And although I treated it like a training run for the half marathon that would follow the next day, and for the Gasparilla Distance Amber Challenge a couple of weeks later, my pace wasn't that far off from a 5k PR.
I was proud of myself. And when I ate those chocolate covered strawberries later, I didn't feel guilty one bit.