Today was my Raceversary. That is, the 1 year anniversary of my 1st Race. It was a 5K, and I was proud to have run that far. I knew I had run slow, but I was fine with my 12 minute pace. You see, in my wildest dreams I never anticipated running anything faster than a 10 minute mile. I thought, with some training I could accomplish that goal. I should restate that: I figured that my somewhat fluffy 32 year old body could accomplish that goal.
Today I ran a 5K in 26:40. I am 90% sure that I was one of the top 10 women finishes overall. (I know because I counted, not because race results are posted). After the race the #2 and #5 guys came over to congratulate me. The #5 guy I know from my church. The #2 guy came over to ask if I had considered going to the road runner speed workouts on Monday night. Lots of fun. Improved his time. Blah blah blah and all that rot. He was moderately hot and obviously single, but no, I don't think he was hitting on me. I'd like to imagine he was hitting on me, he was about 25 or so, but honestly, I think he was genuinely looking at me as an athlete.
I realized that I must look like a veteran runner to someone who's never run a 5K, or even run much. I know where I like to line up, I know generally how to navigate a mid sized up to mega sized race. The thing I realized today as I was talking to Mr. "Came in 2nd" is that he identified me as a veteran runner. Either I ran "that fast" (not likely), or I just have some kind of cool presence (ha ha), OR more likely, he recognized that I am fiercely competitive with me.
Last year I was more proud of that 5K than any other race I ran until the Turkey Trot 10K. This year, I'm afraid I'm going to have to put this 5K right on up there again. I know, it's only a 5K, but I credit it with helping me realize that you don't have to be an olympian, or even "elite" to be an athlete.
You can just be an athlete.