My second race of the year, and it was a fun one, with a good lesson learned.

I didn’t know the parking situation, so I found a nearby park and jogged to the starting area. I like doing this when I can, since warming up is always a good idea. It also gave me an opportunity to take in the area again, as I’ve passed through this little town before.

I biked through this area in 2011, during my “Bike Nerd” adventures. That’s when I got rid of all my stuff and hit the road with my bike and a laptop and plastic bag taped to my handle bars. Yeah, that was an adventure.

It appears I’m better at taking photos from my bike. Back then I was using a Canon PowerShot S95, an actual point-and-click camera, as opposed to these days when I just use my iPhone SE.

That’s the same town (Belvidere, NJ). Hasn’t changed a bit.

This was the first event I’ve been in with my denim battle vest. Maybe it got me some weird looks, but whatever. I know it’s helped raise money for a good cause, so I’m okay with that.

I started off running way too fast. The course was very flat, and I was running with a good crowd. I checked my watch and I was running I think at a 8:30 pace, which is something I haven’t really trained up to. I’m just slow and steady 10:15 guy, but I kept it moving. They had a fancy timer thing for the one mile mark, and I hit it at 9:00. Way too fast.

Enter mile two, where I started feeling “shin splints.” I’m pretty sure they’re not shin splints, but more the result of running too fast and my bodies ability – at least in that area – to remove the lactic acid. So it builds up, and hurts like crazy. I actually stopped three or four times to stretch a bit. I wasn’t out of breath, just in pain. I slowed down and kept at it.

With a mile to go I was catching up to a guy and his dog. I thought there was no way I was going to catch him, but it seemed his dog was running out of gas, so they walked a bit. He still finished ahead of me, which was fine because it felt like the pupper paced me, and brought me home.

My official time was 32:13 (10:22 pace), which is slower than a 5K I did in Tampa back in February (that was my fastest yet, 27:41), but considering a month ago I was having difficulty bending over to tie my shoes this run was positive. Stretching three times a day (15 minutes each time) seems to be doing me some good.

As I sat (well, trotted) with my pain and misery today, I made sure to look up and see that the trees were budding. Spring was really here, I could smell it in the air. To be able to run on such a beautiful day, with a great group of people – yeah, boo hoo, I couldn’t run fast today.

The race organizer suffers from Parkinson disease. He said him and his wife are Parkinson’s patients; “I have Parkinson’s,” he said,  “and she has patience.” That got a chuckle from the crowd, and it was sweet that a bunch of people could come together and raise some money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

A new women’s course record was set today, too, by Karen Auteri. She finished at with a time of 17:46, a 5:43 pace. I was at the 1.7 mile mark when she finished!

I started running nearly two years ago, and I’m just happy I can still do it. No serious injuries, never a problem with motivation (I ran alllllll winter), and now I’m getting super stoked on using my running adventures to raise money for good organizations.

Just 22 days until the Broad Street run – I think this event taught me some good lessons!