If you had told me three months ago that I would run a 5K in 17:50 I would have been ecstatic. If you had told me three weeks ago I would run 17:50 I would have been disappointed. Three days ago? I’d have said you were probably about right. But I’m still disappointed.
The Chuy’s 5K this morning was very hard for me. Very hard. Not so much painful, as 5Ks usually are, but just … difficult. My legs felt like cement, every step as if they were lifted up and thudded down. It was almost a surreal experience of having to mentally instruct myself on each and every stride (“ok, bend knee, raise foot, move leg…” THUD! “ok, bend knee, raise foot, move leg…” THUD!).
The weather sucked, warm and humid, but it sucked for everyone and some people looked like they were flying. Still, I found it hard to breathe and after the race my ears were stuffed up from …. breathing? The course was a great course, lots of long straights, a nice downhill, pretty fast finish. It just wasn’t my day. It hasn’t been my week either. Due to the house sale and the 10K on Sunday my mileage has been cut in half and every run has been a struggle. I managed a one mile tempo on Wednesday (one mile!) and barely made it through. Thursday did a little 600/300 x 3 track workout and it felt much harder than it should have.
So anyway, I knew going in to the race today that I wasn’t in my peak, but I still thought I might pull something out of my bony little backside, as I find that we often do our best when we don’t feel our best. Uh, not today. 200 meters in I felt OK, but 400 meters in the wheels fell off. I was already struggling to keep up. 800 meters in and I was resolved to DNF. My legs wouldn’t move, my arms were achy, head stuffy and I knew it was going to be a bad, bad day. When I saw the 1 mile sign I figured I’d check my time there and reassess. 5:27. What? Ok, I’ll keep going. People were passing me left and right. Keith Dowland, Chris Gunderson, Patrick Hall, some guy in a triathlon suit. Scott McIntyre ran by and I squeaked, “I need help Scott.” Kyle L. raced by and looked awesome. Half a dozen more oozed by me and I again resolved to just DNF. What was the point? (Well, whatever is the point in these “fun runs”, winning, finishing, walking or what?)
Some guy in a Dodge drove by and yelled “arrogant assholes!” Some spectator yelled, “kick these whipper-snapper’s butts Gundy!” The guy I beat in the Heroes 5K had long ago disappeared off the horizon (he ran 17:05!). I doused some water on my head and felt better for .05 seconds. Mile 2 marker was just ahead so again I decided to reassess at that point. 5:51. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Oh well, I’m two miles in so I might as well finish the damn thing. Michael Woo passed me and I just wanted to hang on to him, which I did (he finished 5 seconds in front of me). Scott Birk passed me but I caught him at the end. The last mile was even slower (5:56) than the second. I got a small flicker of energy and kicked it home in 34s for the last .1 (5:40 pace). Jessica and the boys, Andre and Pat, some neighbors, were all cheering near the finish, screaming at me to run faster. Damn, people, I’m running as fast as I freaking can! Finally, thankfully, blessedly, it was over.
And I’m going to put it behind me. After the race I had a lovely jog home with Joshua (“Buttercups!”), then I ran a hard three miles to get the taste of this race out of my system. Like I said, it just wasn’t my day. 21st overall and 17:50 is still pretty good, and like the Maze I’m happy I withstood the mental battles (though maybe if I was mentally stronger I could have….). Oh well, I think I’m done for the season, gonna take it easy for a couple weeks, then try to have a big summer of base.
My boys ran the Kids K and I’m proud of both of them. Elijah went out hard, said he was struggling at the half-way point and wanted to walk but he toughed it out and ran it all the way in. Joshua turned it on after the half-way point and kicked it home hard, passing dozens of kids (“I passed a big girl!”).
Boston? San Antonio? Dunno.