Four on the Fourth: A new record

Yesterday was the 4th of July, which means Independence Day in America. And that means parades, barbeques, fireworks, and for some of us, Fun Runs! Indeed, it meant all those things for me.

I spent the holiday at my youngest sister’s house in Steilacoom so that we could enjoy the town’s 4th of July celebrations. Dad and I arrived the night before so that we didn’t have to rush around in the morning. And, of course, because I wanted to participate in the Four on the Fourth fun run which began at 9 am.

My Godson, Cameron, was going to run the 4-mile race with me. It was to be his first race and his furthest distance – having only “started” running with me on New Year’s Eve. So, before bed, we set out our running gear so that we were ready to run come the morning.

Just Frances and Cameron, ready to run! (Photo by Dad, Roy Cook)

Cameron had a change of heart once we got to the starting line because it was too people-y for him. So, when the race began, he stayed with his dad and I went for a run. I was a little sad about that, and a little frustrated because I had planned on a different kind of run which meant I wasn’t really prepared for a “real” race (mentally or in clothing choice). Because of that, I anticipated a relatively slow 4-miler.

After the first mile, which I ran at a decent and respectable pace of 8.41, I really got into the run. And when I hit the turn-around at Mile 2 in about 18 minutes, I realised that I might be on track for a new 5K personal best. My head wasn’t completely into the run, but since my body was halfway through, I decided I might as well push myself a bit.

I used a range of “head games” to push myself: Picking someone to “race” against; sprinting to that post, no, that post, no, that post; pushing for a sustained pace or a sustained heart rate; all of that stuff. And come the 5K point of the run (3.10 miles) I was under 29 minutes and was feeling very confident that I would see a new record once I got over the finish line.

And then, as I neared the finish line, I realised that this would be my best time for a 4-miler, too. And despite the last mile being uphill (ugg!) I felt myself growing stronger with each stride. My body and my mind were ready for this!

In the end, I managed a new (old age*) 5K PB of 28.32 and a 4-mile record of 37.59. Not bad for not planning to “really” run.

As always, you can see more photos from this and other races here.

It’s the home stretch now. Run, Frances, run! (Photo by Dad, Roy Cook)

Frustratingly, my rubbish starting position (physically and mentally) at the tail-end of the pack also meant that I didn’t cross the timing mat at the start, instead skating just to the side of it. That means that the race recorded my time from the starter pistol and not my crossing time. Which sucks because it means I lost out on tying for 4th place in my age group. But as I would have needed to shave another 32 seconds off my time for the Top 3, I am not too upset.

Whilst there is great jubilation in these unexpected new records, I also know it just means I have to work harder so that I can hit the next new record. But I suppose that means I will be working a bit more towards my overall health, which can only be a good thing.

After the race and my post-race shower, we returned to the town centre for the 4th of July Parade. I had come prepared with a Chico Bag to collect Cameron’s parade candy, but his little friend didn’t have a bag so I lent** that to them. Instead, Cameron used by handbag as his candy receptacle.

And then, once the parade and candy collection were over, we settled in at Royann’s for a day of barbeque followed by fireworks. It was a wonderful day and a great way to celebrate America’s 246 years of independence.

* My all-time PB for a 5K is 17.31 back when I was 17. I have no realistic expectations of beating that time. But I’ll do my best to get as close to it as possible.
** I say lent as I hope to get it back. I fear that might not happen. So sad…

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