A Personal Worst

I ran my slowest 5k ever today (a PW – personal worst) and I was really happy.

This morning I participated in my 2nd Rutgers Big Chill, an event that is in it’s 10th year. The only entry fee for this race is a toy donation (worth at least $10).

Many of the RVRR members taking part are running a 10 mile race tomorrow (including me), so this was going to be a slow run for most of us. We had our Santa hats decorated and were ready to have fun.

That's me that is.

That’s me that is.

Rutgers offered a prize for the largest team which we won last year with almost 100 people but this year we surpassed that only to spot that they changed the rules within the last 2 days to not allow back- to- back winners, and additionally to limit the number of pizzas the winning team would get for their party. Apparently there is a fairly well known phenomenon called the RU Screw and I think we were just victims of it. We weren’t deterred, as in all other ways this is a great event. It’s fantastic to see all the gifts lining the gym wall, and the huge number of people out to run or walk 5k.

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As we weren’t planning on a fast run we started well back in the crowd (it took a while to cross the start line, in fact I’m not even sure where that was exactly).

In front of us

In front of us

Behind us

Behind us

Despite our relative “slow” pace there was a lot of weaving in and out and around people at the start. I did manage to find space to get ahead and run backwards to take some photos.

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About halfway through someone raised a suggestion of a sprint finish (thinking about it, that may have been me), so we jogged on chatting and enjoying ourselves planning how we would manage that given the number of people likely to be in our way.

One thing I realized early on was how much of a different runner I am from a year ago. I remember those first few club runs where people were chatting away as they ran, and how I struggled to get a few words out. As I was running today, well within the first mile, I realized that there were many people around us already out of breath. I hadn’t really stopped to think about my progress in quite that way until now (progress to me had usually been measured by speed and distance).

When we got to the last turn it was  time for the Sprint which did turn out to be periods of sprinting combined with sharp braking and dodging around other runners but it was a fun way to end a fun race (and we sneaked across the line just before the clock turned to record 30 minutes).

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