David and I took part in the Fiji 5K this past weekend, but it was right here in Savannah. “Fiji” stands for “Fit Isn’t Just Image” and is the basis of a diet book (The Fiji Vacation Diet).

Anyhow, it was our first race in Savannah, and we were prepared for whatever the weather would throw our way.

There were about 200 people at the start, and when the horn sounded for us to start at 8:00am, it was 80-85 outside with nearly 90% humidity. Sauna, anyone?

We opted to run at our own paces just to see how hard we could push ourselves. I was ridiculously motivated and wanted to break 27 minutes (the time requirement each week in women’s rowing to maintain my gear).

I started out pretty fast (David later told me it was around a seven-minute mile pace. What!? Ok, too fast.

Anyhow, I got to mile one and was soaked with sweat and already had a side stitch from my water loss. Geez! I caught up with a tall guy and opted to pace right behind him. Good move. He broke the little bit of breeze we were running into and kept me steady.

David passed me just before mile two, but I kept on trucking. Since I wasn’t wearing a watch, I really had no idea how fast I was going. I knew I was exhausted, but I figured it was just the heat and humidity.

I rounded the last turn, and the finish line and clock came into view. It read “23:47,” but even in a dead sprint, I wouldn’t have made it before 24 min. I finished in 24:10–much better than my 27 min goal. That’s about a 7:47 minute average per mile. I was stoked!

We waited around for the awards because when David and I finished, there really weren’t too many people ahead of us. Kind of exciting.

David took third place in his age group (men 20-29), and I won first place in mine (women 20-29)! It was really exciting for several reasons. First, I had never run a 5K faster than 25 minutes, ever. Second, it was our first race since the marathon, and we haven’t really been training consistently. Third, it was our second ever run in the Savannah heat. We were both thrilled!

More races to come, I’m sure. Hopefully the next one will have money involved (yes, I like my medal, but a medal can’t buy gasoline!)