Yesterday I ran my second 5K. I use the term “ran” loosely since I did a combination of running and walking, much as I did the last time. And also because I run really slowly. Really. I was hoping to run the entire length of the course this time but it didn’t work out that way. Let me back up and explain.
I finished the C25K running program last week. My greatest distance was a couple of weeks ago at 2.74 miles and my longest time of non-stop running was 32 minutes last Friday. A 5K is 3.1 miles and even at my best pace of 12:30/mile that meant I’d be running for at least 38 minutes – something I hadn’t done yet. I was definitely feeling unprepared for the race but I’d made a commitment and I wasn’t going to bail.
Let me tell you, though, when I woke up to cold rain yesterday morning the thought of blowing off the race was very tempting. I even texted Jo-Ann and half-joking said maybe we shouldn’t run the race. She reminded me, though, that we had told a lot of people we’d be running and – most important of all – we had told ourselves that we’d be running. She was right, of course, and so we showed up at the local YMCA at the appropriate time. This race was quite different than the Run to the Rock – for one thing, it was 5 minutes from my house. And for another, there were a lot less runners. A lot less. My number was 139 but I definitely didn’t see another 138 people there, I’d estimate there were maybe 50-75 runners. I’m sure the weather didn’t help with the turn out. Also, it wasn’t a chipped race and I’m guessing that discouraged the very experienced runners.
Jo-Ann and I were together at the starting point and the rain had mostly stopped. She got a little ahead of me but then I caught up and we were running together, which was totally awesome. Our pace was really similar and we stayed together, occasionally passing other runners, for the first mile. I was just thinking to myself – hey, you’ve got this and maybe you can actually run the entire course – when Jo-Ann paused to take off her long sleeve shirt. She had to remove her arm band to do it and we were running side-by-side and I was trying to help her and then her phone hit the ground and came apart and she had to stop and pick it up. I started walking, thinking that if I walked while she got herself pulled together then she would catch up with me and we’d go back to running side by side. It didn’t work out that way, though, and I gained some distance on her.
I wanted to stop and wait for her because I knew it would be harder for me to quit running if she was with me but I was afraid that if I stopped moving at all it would be really hard to start running again. So I kept going except that now I was walking. I pretty much walked the 2nd mile and then I did some intervals again for mile 3. The running parts were feeling okay and I kept pushing forward. There weren’t any large hills but there were some inclines and I walked those. One of those inclines was right before the turn for the finish and I was hauling my butt up the hill, not feeling particularly motivated, when one of the Y trainers that I know came running down towards me and started to encourage me to start running again for the finish. She ran beside me and I started running again and I hit that finish line at a sprint.
My time was 43:44, 40 seconds less than my Run to the Rock time of 44:24. Had I hoped for a better time? Absofrigginlutely. But given my lack of motivation that morning and the added stress about the weather, I think that time is pretty good. Well. Pretty good for a 47 year old woman who has never done anything remotely athletic in her life until 5 months ago.
And, of course, there’s always next time.