The Tortoise is Getting a Little Faster

A wrong turn in the race doesn’t slow this girl down.

I did my second 5K of the year this past weekend.

My friend (who was on my team on “The Biggest Loser”) puts on these free unofficial 5K’s every so often, none of which I’ve been able to attend yet. But in preparation for an Easter brunch that I knew included a waffle bar (I pretty much made myself a chocolate sundae on top of my waffle, and I’m not sorry) I happily made my way to the quaint and charming town of Poolesville, Md., where she lives to enjoy a visit and some running.

The race started off very promising with me feeling fit and fast. I was a little nervous as I never feel fast. I thought it was a fluke and surely I would burn out and should maybe pace myself so as not to be too tired for the rest of the race. But my legs kept pounding the pavement at a steady tempo seemingly ready to get work done. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t getting tired, even as I neared the one-mile marker. And my pace was at an 11-minute mile, which shocked me to no end. At one time I could keep up a ten-minute mile for six miles, but that was back in TBL days and lately my average has been a 13-minute mile, which despite being one of my favorite numbers, does not thrill me.

It must be all the Alpha, I thought smugly and as I geared up for mile two with excitement ratcheting over possibly finishing in under 40 minutes.

If I kept up this pace for the entire two miles I could be done in 33 minutes. That would mean I would’ve shaved 9 minutes off from my last 5K.

Now I was downright euphoric. Until I started to get tired. I was barely a few minutes into mile two when just as I suspected, my pace began to slow as my brain acknowledged I was only a third of the way done and my legs in fact could not keep up the pace. 

By the last mile I was back to my 13-minute pace and, sadly, I had watched 33 minutes go by, then 34 and 35 …

I knew I was close and I had hoped to finish somewhere in the 30-minute range but I was getting sluggish and my sister, who was running the race with me and by that point surpassed me, still hadn’t turned toward the finish line yet.

As I neared I realized she had missed the turn and was going the wrong way. I slowed to yell her name but she had headphones in. I wanted a good time, but it was my sister’s first 5K and as much as I wanted to beat her—I knew she would’ve won if she hadn’t had the detour—so I continued to yell, prepared to forfeit my time and run after her if I had to. She turned around and saw me waving to turn back. At this point with the finish line in sight, I do what I always do: book it for the last leg of the race.

One of my beloved trainers from the Ranch, Cardio Chris, who heavily encouraged my running, told me to always finish strong. I finished at 40:37 and before my sister.

Competitive as I am though, especially with my siblings, I handed it to Savannah that she had the lead and congratulations went to her even if she got turned around. 

I like to think that the little stop to alert Savannah added some time, so while I didn’t shave 9 minutes off my 5K average, I did shave almost two off, and that’s still improvement in my book. 

-Cassandra 

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