Today was my first race in 5 1/2 months. I was very excited about it. Chasen was delayed by Memphis traffic getting to our temporary apartment, and I thought I was going to have to leave him behind... but he finally arrived and we made it there with just a few minutes to spare. I had arranged to meet Lisa, my new Olive Branch running friend, just before the start of the race. I barely made it! I discovered cool Lisa through the Memphis Runners Track Club. She is the contact for running in Olive Branch. Isn't that cool? I don't even officially live in O.B. yet and I already have running friends!
We arrived at the Memphis Zoo and I didn't see a single person with a race bib. WHAT? Come to find out, they often do not use them at these "fun runs." Once you cross the finish line, you're given a numbered card (they time you and the number on your card corresponds to the number you finished overall). You fill in your name, sex and age and put it in the appropriate box. Lisa said she now wonders why numbers are ever used. Perhaps I'll share that opinion in a few months.
After chatting with Chasen and Lisa, I headed to the start area. There was not only a 4 mile race, but also a 1 mile family walk -- so there were a TON of strollers. I lined up right in front of the strollers. I was aiming to walk 3/4 of a mile and then run the last 1/4.
It was in the upper 80's, but it was not humid, thankfully. Walking is just not fun because it takes so darn long to walk 3/4 of a mile. I do not walk quickly. I feel like I stomp when I try to go faster. Aargh!
The first mile came in at 14:10 (and that is 50 seconds faster than my goal, FYI). I was feeling fine, as was my ankle. I knew I could probably get away with a little more running, but I did not want to undo 4+ months of patience.
We wove through the zoo. I saw a rhino, several elephants, a whole flock of pink flamingos (are there any other colors?) and a springbok. Mile 2 was accomplished in 14:30 (30 seconds ahead of goal pace -- yay!)
Next we went through adjacent Overton Park. This was St. Jude Marathon territory -- oh the memories! Mile 3 was done there in 14:20.
After I completed mile 3, I thought "Oh happy day -- just one more mile of this walking crap!" So I certainly sped up my walking a bit. We came out of the park and headed back towards the entrance to the zoo. Once it was time to run my last quarter mile I couldn't have been happier. Volunteers were cheering, and that felt GREAT. I sailed in at 14:14.
Here I am heading to the finish line. Don't I look happy!?!
My Garmin clocked the whole ordeal at 4.02 miles in 57:25. So I exceeded my goal of 1:00:00!!! Chasen and Lisa were waiting for me. We chatted a bit more and then we made our way out of there. We drove back much less aggressively really taking in everything along Poplar Avenue (Memphis' longest street, to my knowledge). We picked up pamphlets for many other upcoming races. Let my summer-o-fun begin!