Hi everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend and a nice Thanksgiving (if you celebrate Thanksgiving, of course).
I have been signing up for events to keep myself motivated, and Milwaukee just introduced its first Thanksgiving day race. I was so excited to have a local turkey trot, I signed up right away!
I had two goals:
1. Burn off as much Thanksgiving dinner as I could before actually eating it
2. Run the whole time
I didn't care much about my time, but I wanted to run the whole thing without stopping. I have done a couple events since recovering, but the last time I actually completed a 5k without walking was in March 2010, two months before my hip surgery. This race, assuming I met my goal, was a sort of rite of passage to total recovery. If I could do it, I reasoned, I could consider myself healed and get back to the work of improving overall health.
I was super-excited on race day! I had my cold-weather running gear on, and a great playlist on my mp3 player. 2500 other people decided they would join me, some of them in crazy turkey costumes.
It was about 50 degrees and breezy when the race began. I felt a bit chilled but knew I would warm up. I felt fantastic during the first mile. It was crowded, and there were lots of walkers and strollers, but I just wove my way through them. I felt light and fast, two things I never thought I'd feel!
At the mile 1 clock, the time read 16:57. I had crossed the starting line at around 4:30 or so, so figured I did a 12:30 mile. That is my fastest mile time ever recorded! Excited, I realized I had a chance to beat my best 5k time.
Mile 2 was tougher. It was a straight, level path into the wind. And by this time, I was learning that 50 degrees is not cold enough for cold-weather gear. Overheating!! I grabbed the neck of my top and held it away from my skin to let some of that wind in. The mile 2 clock read 30:45...I had slowed down to a 13:48 mile.
I was tired and overheated, but I realized I was 2/3 done and hadn't walked yet. So I looked for some faster songs and pushed it to the finish line. I was tired and my hips were achy, but I kept trucking along, continuing to pass people and be passed all the way to the final bend. When I saw that finish line, I dug deep and started sprinting. As I flew past people (yeah, probably not really "flew" but more like "plodded by"), I saw the finish line clock. 45:00. Really? Bummer...I thought I had a chance. Oh, wait a minute...if I subtract the 4:30 which is when I really started, my time is around 40:30 with just a straightaway to go. My best 5k time was just over 42 minutes. I can do this! I can get a new personal best!!
Grinning, I put on a burst of speed that surprised me. Head down, this time I probably did fly past people! I crossed the finish line at 45:45, which turned out to be a 41:12 official time. (My mile 3 time was probably 13:38, after doing the math.)
I'm so ecstatic, I'm still grinning about it 3 days later! I'm thrilled that I finished in just over 41 minutes, but even happier that I didn't walk at all. That is a huge accomplishment for me, and now I know that my recovery period is finally over. I have returned to my pre-surgery fitness level and can now continue improving.
The last 2.5 years have been a test of my dedication and willpower. I struggled. But I emerged victorious. It is time to refocus...