So, today I woke up later than I would have liked to and got stuck in traffic, leading me to be much later to work than usual. Bleah. And as soon as I got to work, I started feeling light-headed and nauseated. Double bleah. I'm not terribly concerned about it, because I suspect it's related to TTOTM. And in any case, there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I'd love nothing more than to go back home and crawl back into bed. But bed is 38 miles away and sitting at my desk feeling a little dizzy is better than driving in my car feeling dizzy. I'm already feeling somewhat better and I'm sure I'll be fine by the time I leave work. I do suspect that this is going to be a nasty month, though. I'm feeling this sort of undirected, general irritability that I think could flare up unexpectedly. Right now, I feel cranky. Cross me and I could feel face-punchy. Mentally, at least. I'm really more of a "if looks could kill..." person. I also feel tired and fat and I have a total lack of interest in doing anything healthy. Oh, and I'm dealing with some kind of cold/congestion thing.
So, all in all, a great start to the week!
Well, I'm not fond of dwelling on the negative. Instead, I'll post about something I meant to write about a couple of weeks ago. Before my half marathon, I decided that my running plan for this year would be to improve my 5K time. I don't have any immediate plans for another half this year (at least two next year, though). I may change my mind when the Detroit Free Press Marathon gets closer, though. I want to do either the marathon relay or the half for that race. And despite my reaction to the few hilly overpasses of the Princess, I'm seriously pondering the Crim, a 10 miler through Flint, MI. Every time I mention it to people, the first thing they say is, "It's hilly." Considering the race is at the end of August and people mention hills before heat, I'd say that's a big deal.
Anyway, 5Ks. I plan to do at least one every month for the 12 months following Princess and my goal is to improve my time. Even before my ankle and knees started to fail me, it seemed like every 5K time I had last year was slower than the last. That's not the way it's supposed to work. So I decided that this year I'd focus on that. My first 5K of the year was the Corktown 5K before the Detroit St. Patrick's Day Parade. It was to be the day after my 40th birthday party. When my guests questioned the wisdom of running a race the day after a party, I said, "We'll run away from our hangovers." Actually, I didn't feel terribly hung over that morning. Just a little dehydrated, which I took care of pretty quickly.
Corktown is Detroit's oldest neighborhood, although the city itself is about twice as old. It's where the Irish immigrants bunched together during the 1840s and where Irish and Irish-for-a-day folks bunch together the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day, ostensibly for the parade, but primarily to drink and wear silly clothes. The 5K route would take us along Michigan Avenue, from the park in front of Michigan Central Station, Detroit's most famous abandoned building, to Campus Martius and back. Of my friends, Kristin was the only one I could talk into joining me for the 5K and it was to be her very first race. She runs longer distances, but hadn't been in a race yet for whatever reason. Kristin wore the race tee and bundled up, whereas I... I looked like St. Patrick drank too much green beer and threw up all over me!
I wore my light green Lotta Breeze capri running skirt, which clashed horribly with all of the other stuff I wore: green long sleeved tee with shamrocks on it; mint green stretchy gloves; knee high white socks with orange and green polka dots and shamrocks on the cuffs; several layers of green beads; a gray and green shamrock Bondi band that I bought specifically for that race way back in December; and the capper- feather-trimmed shamrock deelie-boppers! Basically, if it was on a St. Pat's merch end cap at JoAnn's, I was probably wearing it. Personally, I have no pictures of myself in this outfit, but I know there were cameras pointing my way later in the day so I keep expecting them to surface.
Because of the parade and our lack of familiarity with the precise location of the start/end, we parked about 3/4 of a mile away. Since we had forgotten about daylight savings time until about an hour and a half before race time and parked 20 minutes before the start, that was a bit harrowing. Still, I paused for a port-a-john about halfway to the start. Every opportunity!
We got to the start eight minutes before the race was due to start and joined the milling crowd in the park.
Thus began comparisons to the race immediately prior, the Princess Half. Princess started at 5:45. Corktown started at noon. I was at the start nearly two hours prior to the Princess. Corktown, I got there with less than 10 minutes to spare. The Princess started in the parking lot of a theme park whose names stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. Corktown started in front of an abandoned train station that has decayed so cinematically that it is a bona fide movie star. The Princess's over 16 thousand participants started in at least six well-organized, carefully managed corrals. The 5343 Corktown participants heard the airhorn and took off as best they could, colliding, passing, and shuffling their way across the line. The Princess ran on Disney World's impeccably paved roads through well-groomed landscaping to the accompaniment of carefully planned entertainment. Corktown ran on aged brick, pot-holed asphalt and reinforced concrete past the parade crowds already gathered- and already five sheets to the wind- and through a cacophony of sounds that ranged from CCR to Stevie Wonder to Flogging Molly to live bag pipes. Princess finished hot and sunny. Corktown finished cold, gray and with a bit of snow.
But you know what? I loved this race. I love my city. I love how crazy everyone gets on parade day. I love that despite the cold weather and bad parking and the unsavory reputation Detroit has, 5343 people ran or walked a 5K that day. And most of all, I loved the way I ran this race. I ran as long as I felt comfortable doing so at the start, then bid Kristin goodbye as she ran straight through and I commenced my intervals (a mix of :30/:30 and 1:00/:30). I drank the water I brought from home as the wind dried out my mouth. I listened to my "Irish" playlist as I ran and ended with a raucous, punk-ish rendition of "Whiskey in the Jar." I crossed the finish line with a time of 40:57, which was about a minute faster than my previous fastest time. My average pace was 13:13, which for me was truly not bad at all!
I feel like this is an excellent starting point for my year. I'm not saying that I expect to improve my time with every race, but it shows me what I can do and the path to take. I have not yet started really training to improve my time. That's going to take some commitment to strength, flexibility and building my cardio endurance up again. The last several months have been about adding miles and finishing upright. This year is about shaving off seconds or even minutes. I'm really proud of Kristin, too. For her first race, my wee runner friend finished in 32:41 with an average pace of 10:33.
And then after the race, we discovered that I had parked fortuitously close to the bar where a band we're friends with was playing after the parade. There was lots of Guinness, Jameson's and dancing, which is where those cameras I mentioned earlier come in! I had a great time. I suspect that the real testament to my fitness that day came in the form of wild, fast dancing to my favorite surf rock hornpipe. The drummer knows it's my favorite and called me out before they played it. I couldn't back down. At some point during nearly four straight minutes of flail...er, dancing, I turned to Kristin and said, "I think I'm going to die!" But I didn't. And that, my friends, is an achievement on par with running a 41 minute 5K!