This past Friday evening, my wife and I had the opportunity to do something together that we had never previously done before – run a race together. It turned out to be one of the cooler things I’ve done in a long time.
Let me paint the picture: one of the local high schools puts on an annual festival and 5k road race called “Running of the Knights” (their mascot is obviously the Knights). The event is used as a major fundraiser for the athletic department. In prior years, the benefactors had been the swim team, the football team, a new weightroom and much more. The festival included food vendors, some obstacle courses, volleyball, a couple of “hampster balls” for humans, and much more. The run included a straight-up 5k as well as a centipede race – where a group of runners is linked at all times by a rope.
So Mrs TM and I had never run a race together. We raced the same triathlon once, but honestly never saw each other after the start – so that doesn’t really count. She had only done one other 5k before. Even despite her telling me I could run my own race, I decided to run the whole race with her.
Mrs. TM isn’t a fast runner but she keeps moving along steadily. She normally runs in the 11:00 to 11:30 per mile range.
Friday evening was just about perfect for a mid-May 5k in Florida. Temps were in the low 80’s and there was virtually zero humidity. The race was relatively small (~300 runners + the centipede teams). At the appointed starting time, we lined up behind a recently spray painted start line, making sure to be behind the high school cross country teams – who we knew would go out like a jack rabbit. After the gun, we started our little jaunt. I just about immediately took myself out by not paying attention and nearly tripping on a traffic cone (doh!). We took the first mile in 9:30. I thought she might blow up, so I backed us off a little.
There was a water station at the half-way point, and Mrs TM wanted to walk through it, as she said she couldn’t run and drink. Interestingly, instead of the little paper cups that are normally given out at races, we received full Solo cups of water. Like 16oz of water. Curious. As we were walking through the water station, I heard Mrs. TM’s heart rate monitor going like a Geiger counter close to a radioactive leak. I asked her what her heart rate was: 173. Whoops. Nice zone 1 run, there, babe.
We started running again, and I decided to try to keep things slow – not wanting her heart to explode and all.
But….believe it or not….she pushed the pace.
The entire second mile was directly into the sun – which was a little blinding, but not too bad.
As we got close to the finish (which was on the track at the high school), I asked Mrs. TM if she wanted to do the most cheesy thing possible and hold hands when we crossed the finish line. She wanted to, and when we crossed the line, we held our hands high.
We finished in 30:50 (9:50/mile or so) which was almost a 4 minute PR for her! I was really happy for her and quite proud that I was there with her the whole way.