Perhaps due to the suffocating heat of 100+ degrees and humidity that perpetuated, I had trouble locating running events that intrigued me throughout the summer, and with my mother’s visit from Korea, our both contracting Covid during that time, and attending my best friend’s wedding last weekend, I felt I had been away from racing for infinity, albeit I still ran as frequently as I always have outside racing. With September too coming to an end, although I typically do not sign up for races under a half marathon, I decided last-minute, thanks to its proximity, to enter the Pups & Pastries 6.5-Miler, which took place on September 24, 2022, in Cary, North Carolina.
As the event name suggests, many dogs participated, even though my run started an hour later. The weather finally felt runnable, which helped in this moderately hilly cross country course of 6.59 miles and 453 feet of elevation gain according to my COROS. I would complete the same big loop three times before moving to a smaller loop, all of which concluded with a lengthy climb. With young volunteers cheering me on from many sections, I continued to talk and wave back while trying to catch my breath. My first mile clocked in at just over 8:06, which slightly concerned me because I have not been running anywhere near an 8:06-mile recently. I maintained a consistent pace throughout and crossed the finish line with an official (gun) time of 58:29.97. (My initial posted time was off by nearly 1:30, which I told a member of the event staff and he swiftly fixed and explained to me how, although I do not remember exactly what he said.) I have missed this feeling of racing for too long, but maybe this respite refreshed me because I really felt burned out at my latest ultramarathon a few months ago but nothing but excitement here.