You know the kind of weekend that, when it's over, you feel like what you reeeeallly need is another day off...to actually rest up from all the fun? Well, last weekend was one of those, for me. It started with Bonus Family Time--one of Husband's cousins and her daughter were visiting Chapel Hill to tour UNC, which she's considering as a prospective college choice when she graduates next year. So his OTHER cousin, who moved here about 6 months before we did and lives across town from us, hosted everyone at her house for dinner on Saturday night.
(You might recall that I sent my boys out to the grocery store to obtain a few key ingredients I was lacking for several dishes? Yep--this is the reason. I know, I know: when one volunteers to make pasta salad and bring a dessert, one should also make sure she has all of the necessary components, right? But really, what are kids for? Especially those who can now drive themselves to the market and take care of thankless errands for their beloved mother...)
So, there was college football watching (mostly Derek and Riley), chatting and catching up on family events and whatnot (primarily the adults), and much eating (well...everyone). We also made plans for Cousin and Daughter to meander toward the Team WestEnders part of the area on Sunday evening for another meal, so we could show her our neighborhood and the adorable little 'burb known as Carrboro.
But first, there was a 5k that some of us needed to conquer. This was somewhat of an odd situation: the race was originally scheduled for early June when we registered, and it was perfect because at that time of year, it didn't conflict with any soccer shenanigans whatsoever. As it turned out, however, Riley's injury happened literally days before the event, so he wouldn't have been able to participate. Then, for some reason, the organizers changed the date entirely, moving it to last Sunday. Even better, since it's not the dead heat of Summer anymore, they set the start time for 2 p.m. Plus, the park where it was still being held is a scant 10 minutes from our house. Easy peasy.
That just left the question of whether Riley felt ready to tackle several miles of continuous running, which he hadn't done since he broke his leg. Now, he's been diligently doing his p.t. sessions, keeping up with his stretching and strengthening exercises at home, and logging interval workouts where we alternate periods of jogging and walking...but this is obviously not the same as pounding the pavement for a half-hour at a time. When asked directly, he expressed uncertainty and doubt about being fit enough to make it work. But I sort of...encouraged/pushed...him to think about giving it a shot....pointing out that he could just as easily do his interval sequence on the course, since at every 5k we do, we always see quite a few people walking the entire length anyway.
And then, his brother stepped up to volunteer to stick with him, so he could both keep a comfortable pace, and have some company. (Yay, Sibling Power!) With that, and also these facts: it wasn't the typical "wake up/scarf some food/go run, groggily" situation...the weather wasn't disgustingly hot...and the setting was local and familiar...Riley was persuaded to make an attempt. As usual, the youngsters set off much more quickly than my shorter...older legs would allow, so I did what I always do--maintain my own stride, which is steady, and placed somewhere firmly in the middle between "snail" and "hare". (Hey, it's worked for me for DECADES, what can I say?)
What we didn't know until we started was that they had the course set up as an out-and-back, not a circular loop. Soooo...that very first steep downhill portion, to kick off the action? Yeah, that would come back to bite us...and by that I mean "me"...in the tushie at the end. In fact, I quickly discovered that the path was pretty much sloped downward on the way out...and therefore obviously reversed in the second half. Seriously? Whose brilliant idea was that? Someone who was NOT running, I daresay...
But, having caught onto that at the outset, I knew I had to do my best to keep something in the tank for the final push. Nevertheless, those last several uphill climbs took it out of me, despite my...energetic intentions. I had (to my surprise) actually passed my sons during one of their walking phases, but I could sort of hear them behind me--just a little bit out of earshot. Meanwhile, I could feel myself plodding along, slowing down...so I got busy giving myself a silent pep talk: you can do it...almost there...no quitting now! And then...within yards of the Finish Line, with a gleeful bellow...my precious children barreled past me, sprinting for all they were worth...just so that they could beat me. (BRATS! You're both grounded!)
Actually...I have to admit it was pretty hilarious. Here's how we ended up:
20 Westman, Derek: Pace 09:26 Time 29:14.72
21 Westman, Riley: Pace 09:26 Time 29:15.97
22 Enders, Johna: Pace 09:27 Time 29:18.72
That's out of 70 total runners, so not too shabby. And YES, I realize that their average pace was the same as mine, even though they were walking part of the time....whippersnappers. What's even funnier, to me, at least, is that I ended up 3rd in my age group. For the First. Time. E-V-E-R. Of course, there were only 13 people in my bracket--but so what? I'll take it for the "W"! (As a matter of fact, I feel faster already--whoo hoo! Okay, that little adrenaline rush is over...I'm calmer now...)
Whew--we had earned our supper! Cousin and Daughter joined us a bit later, and we took them into Carrboro, where the annual Music Festival just happened to be in full swing. Crowds of people strolled the sidewalks, enjoying the pleasant evening and taking in the open-air concerts that were set up throughout town. Fortunately, one of our favorite eateries had space for us, so we got to sit down right in the thick of things and savor our meal while being serenaded by the strains of songs wafting in through the door whenever a customer or server opened it. Lovely.
All-in-all, it was a busy, tiring, but super-entertaining weekend...the only possible downside being that there wasn't nearly enough time in the mix...for NAPPING. Never fear: here we are at Hump Day, so we're over halfway to the end of another work week. I'd better get right on the Team WestEnders Agenda...so I can pencil in some "do absolutely nothing" time for Saturday...or Sunday...before it's too late!