I haven’t run a regular 9:15 pace in some time. I’ve accepted that I’m 20 lbs heavier but 30 lbs lighter than my lowest and highest weight. I seem to average 9:30 – 9:45 pace these days and on a given day as long as I’m not purposely going super slow that is ok with me. I ran a 5 mile race yesterday one town over from my hometown. I know the area and it’s not super hilly which is good for me. I ran this one with a friend. I didn’t actually run with her but just in the same race. We don’t have the same pace so we don’t stay together generally. As I ran this race I picked two runners that were running together. They were much younger than I but were keeping a doable pace that I thought I could maintain so I stayed with them. Mile 1 was 9:06 which I haven’t seen in a really long time. Mile 2 was 18:42 or something which was still way below the pace I thought I was going to keep. I wasn’t overwhelmed or exhausted but could definitely feel that I was pushing myself within a comfortable and moderately elevated range. I figured I would keep up with them as long as I could and if I had to slow down I would. We kept going and hit mile 3 somewhere around the 28 minute mark which was great. I wanted to turn around and wait for my friend a few times just to have my own company to run with but I knew she would get mad because every runner should run their own race. I just get lonely out there all by myself all the time in my races. Anyway, we were just about at mile 4 and I told the girls (who I wasn’t actually running with, just behind) that we were doing great. They smiled and then moved over to let me pass. I guess they were creeped out or maybe just didn’t want a tail. Either way when I passed the 4 mile mark I kicked it into gear. I wanted to run a fast 5th mile at something faster than what I had been putting down. No real reason other than that but I just set in, turned it up and kicked it into gear for the last mile. At the last turn I really pushed hard, encouraging one of the girls that won one of the age brackets to push hard in the finish. Maybe I was responsible for her taking 3rd place. Maybe. I didn’t win a medal but I did win in my mind because that mile 5 turned out to be an 8:26 mile. WOO HOO!!! I did it! I was proud of me and I think I have those girls to thank for pacing me. They might not have known they paced me but they did and I had a really good race because of them. Thank you whomever you were for not getting bent out of shape that I was on your coattails for 5 miles. It might not have been a “big” race but it made my day and sometimes that’s all that we need. So whatever your reason is, wherever you are find the ones that will help get you there and don’t leave their side. Follow their example and don’t quit and you’ll be successful in all that you do.