A run-ivesary if you will

I did something really cool this weekend. I ran a 5K…. on a whim…. completely BY MYSELF.

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I guess I should back up and say that it wasn’t entirely on a whim, this 5K holds a special place in my running story as it was my first real “road race” last year (The Diva Dash is one of those obstacle races that involves more jumping in stacks of hay than running). When I got the email in the middle of the summer announcing registration I shoved the date in the back of my mind and got back to triathlon training. As the date got closer and closer I decided that I would literally wake up that morning and see how I felt about doing it.

I was woken up Sunday morning by the sound of heavy raindrops smashing on the pavement outside. Staying in bed seemed like a much better idea than driving 30 minutes to run a 5K, especially where I knew I’d have to run another 6 miles at some point in the day ( I was going to attempt 9 miles for my long run this week). And then I got curious about how much time I could shave off. When I ran this race last year it was the first time I wore running shoes for a race. I didn’t know the “you don’t wear the race shirt on race day” rule.  I didn’t know about paces and watches. I woke up too nervous to eat my pre race english muffin. I didn’t even know I HAD a pre race meal. So much had changed since then, and I needed to see it for myself. With a sigh I threw on my running clothes, grabbed my backpack, left a note for my fiancee, and slipped out the door into the cold rainy morning.

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As I drove up to the parking lot everything suddenly seemed very familiar. Ironically it was a cold and rainy day last year, so I literally was having a Déjà vu moment. I walked up to the table to register, threw my stuff in the car, and headed to the start line. The race is one of those small, family-friendly ones where there are more walkers pushing strollers than racers. As everyone stood around chatting I felt a little lonely, but mostly excited. It felt strangely exhilarating to be there all by myself.

The gun went off, and everyone took off in a sprint. At first I got caught up in the excitement but quickly remembered I didn’t want this to end in a burn out. So I kept a pretty good pace, faster than normal but not to the point where I was dying. As I ran I remembered what it was like running this race last year. I remembered the walking breaks, I remembered using landmarks in the neighborhood where I would make myself start running again… I remembered how incredibly long 3 miles seemed back then.
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I finished the first two miles with a pace under 9 minutes, quickly did the math and realized, “Holy shit, I could actually PR here”. Suddenly as tired I was starting to feel (Like I said, it’s been a while since I’ve run this fast!) I pushed myself to keep going. I thought about how much I wanted to stop last year, and it made me want to run harder. As I rounded the last corner I saw the time on the clock and in unison my heart and feet soared past the finish line.
photo (7)At all my races I am immediately surrounded by my fiancee and my running buddies so it felt a little weird to finish and not recognize a single soul around me. I grabbed some water, grinning like an idiot. No one there knew what an amazing victory I was celebrating inside. No one there knew that I had just PRed, no one knew I couldn’t run 3 miles at this time last year, no one knew that I was going to go home and run another 6. And I could have cared less that no one knew, because I did and in that moment… that was all that mattered. No one else woke me up that morning. No one else drove me there, registered me, or stood at the start line with me. No one else told me what pace I should be running. And when I got tired, no one was there to push me across that finish line except myself. Every single aspect of that 5K was all on me. Since I began running I’ve always had a problem getting caught up in my own head, of selling myself short or letting my brain tell my legs to stop. And in the last twenty six minutes and fifty five seconds I had proven that I could push past all of that. A PR in so many more ways than just a time on the clock.
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PS. Speaking of PR’s-  last year I ran the Trot for Special Tots in 34:10… almost 8 minutes slower than I did this year. Another 8 minutes off next year seems pretty unlikely, but I’m starting to learn to never say never these days.

PPS. I also have to disclaim that I will never again run a “really fast” 5K, sit in the car for 30 minutes, and then attempt a long run. I am still getting yelled at for it… from my legs AND from my trainer 🙂


About Kathleen

When your legs get tired run with your heart.

Posted on October 9, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great recap! You have come so far (and literally gone so far 😉 ) in a year.

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