I ran my first 5K of 2012 on Saturday. While I've been running a lot its been a while since I participated in an organized run; I think it was the Komen Run last August. Because I don't have a lot of runners in my life to commiserate with, runs are a lot of what keeps me motivated. This year I'm going to be a little more consistent.
This time around I actually picked a run on a Saturday the husband didn't have to work and he was kind enough to wake up early on his day off to go with me so he could stand around waiting while I ran 3 miles One of his FAVORITE things to do. I've been smoking my three mile runs in the neighborhood lately (angry runs tend to be fast) and while going into a race blind to the course usually slows me down, I was still hoping to post an OK time. Things didn't go quite as planned.
First off it was cold. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind cold; I actually prefer it to the extreme heat. But cold with whipping winds and a windchill of 23 sucks. I stood inside the gym they had open as long as I could but eventually had to wander out to the corral. So now I was standing on a hill with the wind billowing around me. The DJ thought he was clever and so before the high school choir could commence with the national anthem, he thought he would spin some trivia for us. Apparently our national anthem became our anthem on March 3 (the day of the run) but he wanted to know if anyone knew what year. 'Sweet Jesus, let someone know this so we can get on with the running,' I screamed in my head. Of course none of the 400 runners did. The following 15 seconds were excruciating before he let us off the hook as he answered it himself.
We were finally released onto the 3 mile course, and I hoped the course at some point would get us out of the wind. Well, it did just that...by sending us down onto a gravel trail for almost two miles. I'm a street runner through and through. Every now and then I run at the in-laws lake house which involves gravel and have hit a couple beaches. But they are always hard runs, and I usually never venture too far when I'm off pavement. About a mile in I knew this race was no longer about my finish time but was instead all about figuring out how to finish.
For those that don't know, running on any trail-like element is unstable. Your stabilizing muscles kick into overdrive you struggle to find balance with every foot strike . I started to look for small goals to get my mind off the work and the impending hip pain I was surely due after the run. I came up on a little old man in red ear muffs and made passing him my first goal (don't laugh...being out run by someone double my age sucks). After I got past him, I started this weird dance with a pair of women and a K-state hat sporting guy. They were run/walkers. So I would pass either or both of them as they walked but then not 2 minutes later they were at the running again and would pass me. We kept this up for most of the gravel portion. At least it was a distraction.
I somehow trudged back up and off the gravel only to find the last 1/2 mile was uphill into the wind. I was sucking wind and my knee had started to pull and I wanted nothing more than to finish at this point. But just when I thought I had it wrapped up, I get passed by the two women, the K-stater AND the little, old man in the red ear muffs.
I figured it was a fitting run for where I am in my life right now. I've got a few unstable parts of my life I'm working through so it's only fair I also figure out a not-so-stable run. I pulled it in at 36:02 (bleh) and counted this one as a run I had at least finished.