So, this morning I ran in my second 5K, almost exactly 5 months after the first (which I wrote about here). Several things were different. It was about 50 degrees warmer, for one thing, and I wasn't on antibiotics for Lyme, for another. I remember the main concern in December was staying warm enough before the race and hoping to be done before it started snowing. Not an issue today.
The race was Derrill's Race, a local fixture in honor of an Easthampton police officer who died of leukemia in 2004, and most of the race was on the Easthampton bike path, otherwise known as the Manhan Rail Trail, where I often run. The money raised always goes to local causes; last year, it paid for a good chunk of the local money needed for the sinkhole repair. (See Sunk.)
In the years since I moved here, I've known the race was happening--although the race doesn't go on the section of the bike path closest to my house, I've often seen runners for whom 5K was just a warm up running on the road near my house, their race numbers flapping.
This year, I decided to join them. This race was smaller than the first one I ran, though there were still somewhere around 700 people participating. The walkers and runners all went on the same course, which meant that I was seeing people coming the other way for much of the second half of the race. There were definitely moments when I wished that I had also chosen to do it as a leisurely stroll, water bottle in hand.
But instead, I ran. My time was a bit faster than in the winter, though not as much as I would have liked. I blame the heat for that. The race started just after 10 a.m., and it was well into the 70s and sunny by then. Much of the course was in the sun, as well, which meant that cool moments were few. My goal, really, was to finish ahead of at least one of the firemen running in their overalls and boots. After I crossed the finish line, I saw one just ahead of me, but I also remember having passed at least one, so I consider the goal met. (If I was hot, in my shorts and tank top, I can only imagine how hot they were.)
By 10:40 a.m., I was done. Extremely sweaty, but done. I skipped the after party and the prizes and opted for home and a cool shower. I'm glad to have done another 5K and probably will keep at it, though it's unlikely I'll pick a mid-summer race. The best part, as a non-morning-exerciser, is getting to feel slightly virtuous for the rest of the day. It's not enough to make me want to exercise in the morning every day, but for today, I'm glad.