I signed up to run with a friend’s Stride4Stroke team this past weekend in a run/walk 5k through Rice University. Our team name was NICU to the Rescue (neurosurgical, not neonatal!) and we dressed up in capes as superheroes. We had a cape designing party Friday night that turned out to just be a laugh-fest while episodes of Arrest Development played on the TV. I’m kidding; it was a successful evening as Ashley kicked butt on the sewing machine making my sweet red cape!
Afterward I met up with some other friends at Sam Houston Race Park for 50-cent beers. Yes, 50-cent beers the first Friday of the month. In this day and age…and in Houston? No way! Sounds like a fun idea, right? (Great find, Shanda!) Only I didn’t drink because of the race the next morning. You might think: “But David, it’s only a 5k. You can have a couple!” The thought did cross my mind! But I tried to be a responsible runner and instead used my drinking money on making thoroughbred bets. We had a blast betting on horses! Can’t wait to do that again soon.
I will say I’m not a fan of greyhound races, which were being shown (and bet on) via simulcast. It breaks my heart seeing them race, knowing that as recently as a couple years ago these beautiful dogs were being slaughtered and their bodies dumped in fields after their racing days were over. Nowadays, there are numerous greyhound (and Italian greyhound!) rescue groups that help these dogs find new homes and owners who will love them for their non-racing qualities…something their previous owners didn’t do. What makes horses okay to race and bet on, but not greyhounds? I don’t know. I guess it makes me hypocritical. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve never heard anything about this happening to horses after their racing days are finished. Or maybe it’s because I’m an avid dog-lover and have never really been around a horse.
Saturday morning I woke up bright and early at 6:30 a.m. to make my way downtown to meet up with my Team NICU friends: Ashley, Amanda and Jason. Everyone really seemed to love our capes and the enthusiasm we put into this fundraising event!
The race started a little after 9 and I took off on a much-too-fast pace, leaving my teammates behind who wanted to walk the first part of the race with the rest of the team. I had told myself this was just going to be for fun so I wasn’t going to push myself and I’d just run with friends. But as we walked up to the starting line on this incredible Saturday morning, my overly-competitive side kicked in. Darn.
As the tiny group of serious runners broke away from the casual runners, I found a 50ish year old lady who was running a pace I liked and had great footwork. I made it a point to try to keep pace with her to see where it took me. Well…it took me too fast! I started to feel tired and looked down at my Nike+ Sportband: 1.52 miles. Ugh! I had nothing left in the gas tank! What was I doing?! I’d taken a Hammer Gel right before the race started (to experiment the effects of taking one before a short race) and it had given me the energy to run this pace to this point, but now I was running on fumes. My unofficial pacer lady was starting to leave me. I kept pushing though, thanks to a pride that doesn’t like to be shattered by quitting. I somehow caught back up with her and hung with her all the way to the final straightaway, at which point I passed her and crossed the finish line 5 feet in front of her. Yeah…I wasn’t about a lady of this age beat me!!! (My apologies for the obvious ageism!)
I did find her afterward and thanked her for pacing me and keeping me honest. She laughed and said she was honored. Ha! Runners are awesome. Oh yeah, want to know what our time was? 21:01… “I’m sorry, what?!?!?” 21:01?! This 50ish year old lady led me to a new 5k PR?! AWESOME!!! I’m not even sure what my previous 5k PR was, but I know a 6:46 pace shatters it. haha Sounds like my 7-year-old days when I would just sprint the whole thing and heave my dinner at the finish line. Absurdness I tell you! Simply ridiculous. Back-to-back weekends of new PR’s…you can’t ask for much more than that!
After finishing I stuck around the finish line to see Team NICU come through. Ashley had a great time, for someone who said they didn’t train much! Check out her awesome pink cape!
Here comes her sister Amanda, right behind Jason who was running so fast I wasn’t able to get a picture of him!
Later I found Patrick and Brant walking with Brant’s two gold labs!