Sunday, May 25, 2014
hi everyone--hope you are having a great weekend! the weather was absolutely lovely here and my second 10K run is now history. this is a real journey I am going on--unlike anything else I have ever done. I only hope I learn the right lessons from it.
this race began in a very pretty park in between two rivers--in fact the name of the race is "two rivers meet". there were probably a couple hundred people participating--there was a children's fun race first, followed by a 10, 15 and 5 K run. the morning was cool and the sun was shining. rob did the 5 K and we started at different times. the 10 and 15K runners went first. I took a spot at the tail end of the group and we were off.
first lesson--I need to learn how to correctly warm myself up. I run 3 or 4 times a week, and never have any problems. this morning was cool, I am recovering from a back injury and have been working pretty hard in the garden, taking a lot of ibuprofen and not sleeping well. almost instantly at the start it felt like every single muscle in my body seized up. I was really breathing hard and working very hard to move. this is NOT what my weekly runs feel like at all. I was nervous, for one thing and I think it all just worked against me. just like last time, the crowd stretched away from me almost immediately, and I was left alone at the back of the pack. I had uploaded new music and knew the pace (165) was going to be a bit slow--but normally that is a very comfortable pace for me--and today it wasn't at all. I tried to settle into my music and get my pace--keeping my eyes fixed on the person ahead of me. pretty soon I was being passed by a younger gal--I noticed when she got past me that our running pace was identical--I was matching her footfall for footfall--to the point where I wondered if she was listening to the same music. she easily passed me and put about 30 feet of distance between us. I kept pace with her, but knew there was no way I could catch up to her. so it was head down and just keep moving. the people along the course were really encouraging--at a busy intersection they were stopping traffic so runners could cross. of course the traffic had to wait awhile for me. I hollered "sorry--short legs!" to the run staffer at the intersection and he yelled back "hey--you DESERVE to have them wait for you!!!" all along the way people were friendly and encouraging. the little girls passing out water were so sweet--I stopped and took water from all of them. a little way past the turnaround my second mix queued up and it was a little faster. I must have shortened my pace tho, because my run speed actually slowed a little. my legs were very tired and felt like lead--another thing that never happens to me. the gal I had been matching strides with had pulled ahead of another lady--and I paced this second lady for the rest of the race. when she passed me after the turnaround we gave each other a thumbs up and smiled. runners doing the 15K that passed me before I turned around or came up behind me after (and passed me) said encouraging things as I soldiered on. I thanked them and reciprocated and kept going. on the way back across the busy intersection, the same guy shouted "looking good, young lady!" and I thanked him as well. near the end of the race I began to feel what must have been a little bronchospasm--I don't know if it was exercise induced or if there was some allergen in the air--running right along a pair of rivers anything is possible. it wasn't unmanageable, but I could definitely feel it. as I approached the end, there were more run staffers cheering everyone on-and guiding us to the finish. one runner who passed me told me the sweat on my back was in the shape of a smiley face! as I approached the park, there was rob with a bottle of water. he joined me on the path and we jogged along together until he split off and I could cross the finish line. I was happy to see that my time was 3 minutes faster than my first race. and there were people who finished after me--so I wasn't the very last person on the course. we walked around the park for awhile--it was so lovely---they have some kind of memorial day ceremony there where they erect dozens upon dozens of flags--and the sight was very pretty. the gal I had been pacing high fived me after I crossed the finish line. I was actually wheezing a little and coughing--very strange. but my breathing and heart rate recovered very quickly, although I continued to cough a little the rest of the day. being a former respiratory therapist I have seen asthmatic kids with exercise induced bronchospasm--but I have run almost this distance often during the week and have never had this happen. but its spring and the trees are blooming--so who knows?
we sat down after awhile and watched the flags fluttering in the breeze, the children racing around in the grassy lawn, the dogs on leashes capering up and down the sidewalk. then it was time to head to the car and go home.
it is humbling to be so quickly and easily outdistanced by a large group of people--when you are training alone you see your own progress and are filled with confidence--but when reality butts up against that and you see how you compare with others--its hard. I know I am much older, quite a bit shorter and somewhat heavier than a lot of the women who participate--and I also know that people who do 10K distances are more apt to be seasoned runners with more miles under their belts. I am just at the beginning of this journey, and right now just finishing is a victory. but I would like to be able to someday at least stay in the midst of the pack, rather than have them all leave me in their dust. I will never win a prize--I know. my age and anatomy have seen to that. but in a paradoxical turn of events, this day was kind of discouraging to me. it shouldn't have been--I had a very rough start but I kept going and finished my run. I ran the entire distance and was able to sustain the pace I had set for myself. my spirit kept me going when my heart wasn't in it. I felt obviously inferior to the other runners and sort of humiliated--but I didn't stop. never having participated in a sport of any kind in my entire life--I have nothing to model my behavior on, but I found a way to dig deep and run MY race.
as time goes by I will gain some perspective on this day--and it is my firm hope that this eventually becomes one of the most important races of my running journey.
for now--with a busy summer coming I am going to find some 5K races to do--and try to get myself a few more encouraging experiences--while I work and try to improve so this fall I can venture forth again.
will I be running with the pack by then? don't know. will it matter to me? I really hope not!
have a great weekend!