Never Underestimate the Power of a Cheering Section #13in2013

I ran another 5K yesterday. This is #6 of the “13 in 2013” Challenge I’m taking part in. (I need to get a move on if I’m going to fit 13 in this year!)

I almost didn’t go. My two running buddies bailed on me at the last minute, and I didn’t really care to go alone. I was all set to run a leisurely 5 miles in my neighborhood when I saw on Facebook that my friend Colleen was going to be at the race I’d had my eye on, so I quickly threw on my running clothes and grabbed my $20 and hopped in the car.

It’s always more fun to run with a friend!!

JL and Col

I’ve been gradually decreasing my 5K running times over the past year, and I’m happy to be where I am right now. My goal yesterday was to match or improve upon my last 5K time of just under 28 minutes — 27:59 to be exact.

I told Colleen that my goal was to run it in under 28 minutes. I knew it was doable. I was feeling good, the weather was perfect for running, I’m familiar with the course and it was my favorite time of day.

We took our places right in the front line and waited for the call to start. I’ve never been in the front before, and it’s pretty intimidating. These were clearly the serious runners.

The whistle blew and we took off. I ran my own race, keeping up a good pace. According to my Garmin, I was doing well and averaging a 9 minute mile. Time  seemed to fly and soon I was nearing the end.

I turned the last corner and saw the finish line a couple blocks ahead, but I couldn’t make out the time on the race clock so I wasn’t sure how close I was to making my goal.

Colleen and her family were standing on the curb a few yards ahead of me, and when they saw me coming, they started yelling for me, pointing at the clock and basically telling me to run faster. I squinted until I could make out the time on the clock. I could see that I was cutting it close, but it was still doable. Colleen kept cheering. By the time I got to the finish line, she had everyone lining the street cheering for me.


It was hysterical. I’m sure they were all wondering why on earth they were yelling for this old lady to make 28 minutes when all of the “real runners” had finished at least 10 minutes earlier.

Somehow I found it within myself to sprint the last few yards, and I crossed the line at 27:56.


I’ll take it! Usually I’m so dead by the end of a race, I can’t increase my speed at all. It felt so good to have enough energy left in me to sprint — especially on a hill.

I’m sure I have my cheering section to thank. I don’t know that I would have pulled it out otherwise.

The moral of this story is this: You wanna make a new PR? Bring along a few rowdy fans!

Thanks to Colleen’s husband, Mike, for the photos!

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14 Responses

  1. I love this! I can totally see Colleen & her fam cheering for you and then getting the entire line of ppl to do the same.

    Agree completely – cheering helps so much – people don’t realize how inspiring that is! I love hearing ppl shout as I go by. This past weekend, a triathalon was going by my BIL and SIL’s beach house… the biking portion. I totally went out for a bit and cheered my head off – so inspiring!

    And ps – you till totally make 13! I’m not sure I will – I gotta step it up, I’ve only done 4!

      1. I think we’re going to be away, otherwise I’d be in! I’ve been feeling good getting back into it – had a fab 4 mile run yesterday!

        What about this weekend? Are there any Sat you are doing?

    1. YES! I just signed up for a 10K – and I created a Philly Social Media Moms team, feel free to join! It’s the Good Neighbor Day Run For Life in Downingtown on July 4th at 8am. There are 5K, 10K and 15K options.

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