Mountain Kid 2 and me pre-2015 race. Let’s just say neither of us had a smile at the end of the race.
Often when I go to a race I’ve been in before, I have expectations. I know the course, so I know whether I should take it easy early in the race. I know I need to stay hydrated because it’s always hot when I do a certain race.

It’s a redemption run: A chance to make up for your past mistakes and conquer the course.

This year’s was no different. I promised to help Mountain Kid 2 break the 30-minute 5K mark at the 2015 Barnesville Pumpkin Festival 5k, and we missed it by about half a minute.

I felt bad.

Secretly, breaking 30 minutes was also my goal. I haven’t been able to go sub-30 in a while. It’s not a lack of training. I was training for something different. For example, in 2015, I was training for my first marathon. I was used to going slow for a while, but you can’t do that at a 5K.

This year has had it’s ups and downs, but I’m focused on training for my GORUCK Light event. It requires a slight variation to my running training that seems to be working.

GORUCK programs emphasis sprint work and rucking (hiking with a weighted backpack) for cardio. It also looks at overall fitness, such as doing things that work your arms and core — muscles not necessarily covered in strict running training.

It has helped eliminate  that tired feeling I have during a run. In the past, I usually felt like my upper body needed a break long before my legs did. 

So for this race, I didn’t bring Mountain Kid 2. I let the speedy Mountain Kid 1 do her thing on the course while the other kids conquered the kids races (more in that later). This allowed me to just run as I didn’t feel responsible for Mountain Kid 1. She’s so fast, I can’t keep up with her. It’s a good thing, as it feeds my motivation to someday reach some of her times.

The course has two big hills. And this time, it was OK. The year before, I sucked wind. When I saw my mile time, around 9 minutes, I was a little concerned, but I felt great, so I kept going.

Our Team RWB group for the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival 5k.

I was encouraged along the course by Eagles. I said something to each one as I passed them, as the course had several loops, and they said something back. It made me pick up my pace a bit and gave me some energy to get further.

After the last mile marker, I felt good enough to pick up the pace. I started to work further up the pack, going last people. Then I started to go back and forth with a woman who was in front of me at the half mile point. I passed her and then she passed me with a quarter mile left. After we were done, we shook hands and congratulated each other on a good race. It was awesome.

Everyone who raced this weekend earned a pumpkin and some sort of award. I  got third in my age group and broke the 30 minute barrier.

We got to cheer on our teammates from Team RWB. It was an encouraging race. I can be fast.

The Barnesville, Ohio, Rails to Trail races are great. The director, Carl, and his volunteers put together good race packets, a good after party and good awards.

We all enjoyed the race.