I've run the Run for the Rocks Half Marathon at least six times in the six years we have hosted it through my job at Hutch Rec.
Only this time my time actually counted. And I ran the entire course uninterrupted instead of setting up mile markers or checking on volunteers or going back to double-check that curves and turns were safe and just right for the participants.
I passed the baton to our new full-time race coordinator and had the time of my life racing through my town today...in a race near and dear to my heart and one that I've spent countless nights mulling over, sweating over, and making sure our participants had the best taste of the Salt City they could experience.
I went in with a 2-hour time goal. Ideally I wanted anything under 2 hours - 1:57-1:59 was sounding mighty nice, but I crossed the finish line exactly in the 2-hour mark, 2:00:16.Normally competitive me wonders where I should have kicked it in or where I lacked. My training was steady - slow - these several weeks leading up to the race, faced with a nagging staph infection and other issues. I definitely see the need for a structured strength training plan and being consistent with my diet as a whole (meaning: sweet treats are just that - treats and not every day!).
That being said, I sped through the finish line feeling giddy and am still smiling as I reflect on the race. There was nothing like smiling, waving, and shouting at all of the volunteers and police officers throughout the course- many by name as they are the same ones year in and year out I've had the pleasure of getting to know during the coordinating years. I loved going through each water station giving out high fives. And there's nothing like the Gowans Stadium finish, which I've drooled over and have watched more than 1,500 runners do it since 2011.
It's also a joy running with fellow Hutch and regional runners who I've gotten to know pretty well. They're the ones who are registering year in and year out, who understand the importance of racing local and the excitement it brings a community.
So can I race better? Sure, there's always a way to get better. (And I get to try it all again in two week at another half-marathon race).
But this morning's race story wasn't going to be about the finish time. It's all about community and literally running out a vision that unfolded all of those years ago and I had the pleasure of being a part of from behind the scenes for the last five years.
And a side note...I also brought home my Rock Out Challenge medal after running my own 5K yesterday when the Classic Rock was canceled. Bling bling!