“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb." **Sir Winston Churchill***
It has been a crazy couple of weeks since I last posted! We had a wonderful time at Disney World and I took the whole week off from running. At the beginning of the week I kind of felt like I was fighting a cold so with all the running around the parks, I decided I’d be better off getting all the rest I could and not pushing with morning runs.
My first run after vacation was rough though. My feet were sensitive from being in sandals all week and I felt rusty from not running. It was tough to talk myself into getting out there and doing it, but once the 4.5 mile run was behind me I felt much better. The next day was speed work with a mile and a half warm up and 4 Yasso 800’s. The Yassos went really well, between 4 and 4:15 with the last one just barely under 4! That last Yasso was amazing because for the first time I got that flying feeling I have heard runners talk about. I felt like I was just gliding over the surface and could go on forever.
The following day, Thursday, was an easy 3 mile recovery run. I should have lifted weights afterwards, but decided to skip it so I wouldn’t be sore for my 5K today. Friday was a rest day, but we decided at the last minute to go for one more theme park day while Rusty had time off and went to Buschgardens Williamsburg for the day. There was hardly anyone in the park and the weather was perfect so we rode roller coasters until we were sick and then watched shows. It wasn’t as long of a day as a day in Disney, but my legs and back were still pretty tired by the time we got home. I started rethinking my 5K, especially when I couldn’t find my race flyer with directions and times.
This morning, Rusty put his hand on my shoulder at 6:32 and asked what time I needed to be up for my run, ummm, 6:00! Not a good start. I threw down some coffee and a banana, grabbed my gear with a bottle of Gatorade and some sports beans. Without a clear idea of where I was going, I headed out the door for the 8am start hoping the start was where I thought it was. At least running late didn’t leave me time to contemplate throwing in the towel on this one. I didn’t feel rested after the long day yesterday and I REALLY wanted to go back to bed, but I was on a mission and didn’t have time to think.
I did find the registration table on time, after walking around for 10 minutes, handed in my check and started warming up. By 7:55 I was warmed up and ready to go when someone told me the kids run started at 8 and the 5K started at 8:30. Dang, all warmed up with nowhere to go. I wasn’t alone, there were a bunch of people griping about the unclear start time so we all stood around getting cold and then had to warm up again. Along the way, I had the usual bunch of funny looks when people realized my feet were bare, but no questions at this point. I guess they assumed I'd put them on for the race.
At 8:30 we were ready to roll so about 200 runners lined up for the start. I spotted a runner that I know is fast, but I know is also injured and thought maybe I could keep up with her today. This was my first 5K where I actually warmed up before the race so for once I was able to start off at speed and not crash a mile into the run.
At mile one I felt pretty good, but was questioning my sanity about keeping up such a hard pace. I was intentionally not looking at my Garmin and just going by feel with the occasional glance at my heart rate. Susan, the runner I was pacing off of, had realized I was on her heels and since she knows I’m slow decided to kick it up a notch to stay ahead of me. I stayed on her heels through the first and second mile, but by mile 3 she started pulling ahead.
As we hit the 2 mile mark, there was someone calling out times. I really didn’t want to know so I stuck my fingers in my ears and repeated, “I don’t want to know!” about three times. When I took my fingers out of my ears he was laughing at me, but didn’t call my split. Near the end of the third mile, I was in trouble. My breathing was getting tough, my legs were tired, and I was mentally not there. I could still see Susan, but I knew I’d never pass her in the final stretch. As we turned the last corner, I was able to pull a last bit from the tank and picked it up for the last 100 yards or so. I didn’t look at the clock because I didn’t want to know yet what my time was. I stopped my Garmin at the finish line and was aggravated by the stack up to turn in our tags. I don’t do well going from full speed to full stop and was worried that the drop in blood pressure would make me pass out in the chute! Fortunately I was able to keep the black spots at bay, turn in my tag, and walk my cool down. When I finally took a peak at my Garmin, it said my time was 26:07!!!! WHOOT!!
My mile splits were 8:16, 8:18, 8:30 with my final 1/10th mile sprint below an 8 minute mile, so although they weren’t negative splits, they weren’t terribly far off. I managed to pull of 2nd for my age group with a clock time of 26:09! That was way cool! I finally feel like part of the group now and can’t wait for my next 5K. If I’m more rested, have a calmer morning, and warm up right, there is a good chance I will improve on my time. The best part was all the questions about being barefoot. People take more notice when you are doing something different and finish with a good time!
Next hurdle? Tomorrow’s 9 mile long run!