This race report is a collaboration between Chris, Caitlyn, and myself; I bring you the report of Caitlyn's 5K PR at The Landmark 5K in Hamilton, MA.
Race morning brought lots of sun, but also a bit of a chill; a perfect day for a race! Chris suggested Caitlyn wear her warm-up pants, to keep her legs from getting too cold. Caitlyn insisted on wearing just her shorts, because "what "real" runner wears warm-up pants to RACE? C'mon daddy!" It was also non-negotiable that she wear her brand new technical race tee shirt over her long sleeve, because all the teenagers were. And if you ask Caitlyn, "teenagers are so cool".
As most runners headed out for their warm-up, Caitlyn got warm by dancing to all of her favorite Top 40 tunes. Bring on the Biebs baby, it's an obviously correlation to a PR! Caitlyn's favorite warm-up song was Gangnam Style; she said she "rocked it"!
Caitlyn's splits ended up at 10:31, 11:18, 11:21, and 68 seconds. She flew through the first 6 minutes of her race before she took first walk break. The second mile brought slightly rolling hills, and she conserved energy by walking up the hills. It was about halfway when Caitlyn looked at Chris with her "serious face" and said "I'm going to get a PR today!".
He nodded, and confirmed that if she kept it up, she would definitely PR for sure!
It was somewhere in the last mile when Caitlyn said her legs were hurting; when I asked her how bad they hurt, she said they felt like "she had gotten stung by a bee a thousand times". Chris provided her encouragement saying she was doing great, and this was the toughest part of any race. Heather (Chris' wife/Caitlyn's Step-mom) met them with a half mile to go, and they all ran the rest of the race together. In typical Caitlyn fashion, she put down a kick! I asked her just how fast she said she ran at the end, and she said "like a cheetah kind of fast".
After the race she was all smiles with her shiny PR of 34:16 (helllloooo runners-high)! As most of us runners do, she eyed the food table, asking Chris if she could have a cookie. Let's be honest, you can't deny anyone a cookie after a hard fought PR effort; Chris told her she could grab whatever she wanted! He also reminded Caitlyn just how proud of her he was, and how impressive it was that she fought through to the finish. Caitlyn was very proud of her winnings.. A free ice cream sundae at the local ice cream stand. And, well, ice cream sundaes make any of us smile!
According to Caitlyn, her favorite part of the race was finishing, because she "felt so happy, and proud I got a PR".
During this race, Caitlyn showed some mental strength that she's never displayed before in a race. She really focused, and when it got hard, she pushed through all the way to the finish. She always shows a competitive spirit in these races, asking throughout the miles if there are people behind her; she always wants to ensure she's beating people! When asked, she claims someday she's going to beat her dad (who, by the way, holds a 5K PR of 15:28....). I won't burst that bubble for her quite yet.
Watching Caitlyn grow to truly love running is just so much fun. She has grown up surrounded by runners, yet not one of us has ever pushed her into the sport. She really enjoys running these 5Ks, and is counting down the days until she can join the cross-country team in third grade! Thus far, we've seen a great balance of passion, competitiveness, and truly loving to run, win or lose. How fast she runs isn't important to any of us; what IS important is that she is allowed to develop a love of a sport/skill/hobby that we have with running.
Congrats again to Caitlyn; we love you!
*all photos courtesy of Krissy K*