Barrio 5k for Veterans

The last week or so turned out to be much busier than I anticipated.  I was planning on last weekend being the first responsibility free weekend after months of race and volunteer filled weekends as far as I can remember.  Tuesday morning I was supposed to take my Navy PT test, so I planned to take the weekend off to rest and be fully prepared to finally reach the “outstanding” category in my mile and a half time (spoiler: I did, by more than 30 seconds).  Come Friday afternoon, someone on the Team RWB Facebook posted asking if anyone wanted to participate in a 5k that the race director was allowing 10 or so Team RWB members to participate in for free.

Before I continue here, I’m going to talk for a second about Team RWB for anyone who isn’t already familiar.  Almost inevitably when you ask a member “What is Team RWB?” they’ll give you the following response: “Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.”  Which is a pretty good summary of what we’re all about.  Being a member of the military – though I haven’t fought in any wars as of now – I can say that the prospect of figuring out what to do with myself if I were to get out for any reason is kind of scary.  Team RWB is a way to help integrate veterans into civilian society, helping to ease the transition from the family they may feel like they have lost their connection to since getting out of the military with a family made up of veterans, active duty, and civilians.  (Note:  There’ll be a lot more about Team RWB in the next post about the trail running camp, but in the meantime if you are interested you can join for free at teamrwb.org.)

What I’m saying is, it’s basically the bee’s knees.  So against my better judgement, I decided to run this 5k on Saturday because for some reason my brain doesn’t acknowledge that running as fast as I possibly can for only 5k can make me sore (you have to run long distance to get sore, right?  Right?).  The race started at Cisneros Elementary School and travelled through the neighborhoods (barrios!) to pass through Elmendorf Lake Park.  The part is the future site of the La Ofrenda Veterans Monument, which the race was raising money to help fund which I thought was incredibly cool.

The course itself wasn’t too bad, mostly flat with a few hills here and there.  I took off a bit faster than I would have liked due to the majority of people who started in the front being walkers (people who were walking, not zombies for all you Walking Dead folk) who forced me to do a lot of sprinting and dodging because I’m not aggressive enough to try and shove past everyone to start at the front at any race.  All I remember is looking down at my watch about a mile in and realizing that I was running about a 7 minute mile, which is one of the bigger downsides of trying not to pay attention to my watch.  My husband was kind enough to hang around to take pictures for me, but he sucks at taking pictures so I hope nobody came here looking for sweet action shots of me looking like a hot mess.  (Anyone?)

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I was dance stretching, I think? And then some post-race, post-medal ‘murica.

Turns out I got second place in my age group, and sixth place over all.  I’m not normally one to win medals or anything, so this was a pleasant surprise.  I smoked my previous 5k PR by almost a minute and a half at 25:10!  Yippeee.  Despite all this amazingness, I am going to be completely honest and say that the best part of the race was afterwards when they passed out HOMEMADE walnut banana bread at the finish line aid station.  Omgsomoist.  I’m pretty sure nothing beats that.  Small local races are the absolute best.  Almost as good, the elementary school that we started the race at had a skate park in it that got to entertain my husband while we waited for the awards ceremonies.  As much as he follows me around to races (he can’t run right now) it was nice to have something for him to be entertained by, hah!

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Don’t be fooled, that incredibly rad skateboard is in fact mine.

We followed the awards up with an awesome brunch and a trip to the downtown YMCA to pick up my medal from the Siclovia 5k, so I felt kind of big headed all day having two medals, not going to lie.  Luckily for me, it turned out that my PT test was in fact cancelled and moved back to Thursday, so I had plenty of time to recover so I could successfully kick its butt.  Though unfortunately I collapsed into the grass in a fit of post-run exhaustion and got assaulted by a bajillion fire ants, so now my left arm looks a bit like I have leprosy or something.  (TMI?)  After all that, it was time to get ready for the Team RWB trail running camp…

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Second place is apparently my thing.

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Bonus image: This sign at the home and garden store gets me.

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