Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Don't stop now... it's not over yet!"

OK, so I've been AWOL for a long time now. Two weeks. Too much. With my mother in town, rather than giving me the time to exercise without worrying about my psycho-dog, she's created guilt when I spend the time away from her. Or, perhaps, she's provided an excuse. I don't know.

My plan for after she leaves is to return to the gym every day after work. The weather is driving me there. That, and I'm going into withdrawl from netflix discs (I set a video player on the machines).

Now, the question you're surely wondering: did she run last week's race? Of course! I actually think I did pretty well for my first 5k, considering the spottiness of my training up to the race. (I'd only run 3 miles once before.)

I had two friends joining me at the starting line. One sprinted away like a bunny when the cannon rang out (yes, we had a starter cannon), and the other stayed true to her word to walk the 5k while I... um... didn't quite sprint away.

Remembering my struggle from the previous week's century, I made a concerted effort to watch my pace. No faster than 12:00 minute miles; no slower than 13:00 minute miles. A much older man came up from behind me, and I used him to pace myself for a while. At least until he got too far ahead. I told my pride to be quiet as I watched him disappear into the horizon. I had my own race to run, and I was going to run it, darnit.

I played leap-frog with people foolishly alternating too-high effort with recovery walking. Of course, children understandably did this. Certainly, some people may have been walk-running intentionally. I suspect, however, that these two groups were a minority. Of course, that's pretty much what I did during the Virginia City run, so who was I to criticize? I'm just proud of myself that I ran the whole way without stopping. Well, one stop, but that doesn't count. I'll tell you later.

One leap-frogger answered her cell phone and talked for a while. Really? Wow.

A few leap-froggers coincidentally went back to running every single time I caught up with them. Coincidentally, I'm sure. It couldn't possibly be that they figured that they were OK as long as the fat chick stayed behind them. Nah. I even heard one person exhale, "Damn!" when I passed them too soon after they dropped to a walk. I guess they figured out that they might not be able to stay ahead of the fat chick. Poor things. :-)

I think I'm going to have t-shirts made. The front will say: "I'm OK that they're ahead of me." The back will say: "It's OK that you're behind me."

Yes, I had to negotiate with myself. A lot. "Run the first mile, and then you can take a walking break." "No, you don't need to stop after a mile, push through the discomfort." "Remember, this is what running's all about: running when your body is screaming to stop." "You only have a mile to go. Don't you dare think about walking."

Luckily it was a very flat course. Otherwise, I may have told the negotiator in my head to shove it. As it was, it was a successful negotiation. I didn't stop at all. (Yes, yes, we'll get there). In fact, I even kicked up the pace a bit for my third mile despite never having done negative splits before. And, I started a pretty strong kick once I saw the finish line.

Um, yeah. The finish line.

Balloons. People cheering. An announcer even mentioning my (I assume) push to the end. The timing mat.

I pass the timing mat, turned the corner and proudly slow to a walk. Why isn't anyone else slowing down? Then, a voice: "Don't stop now! It's not over yet!" I look up. Oh, man. That wasn't the finish line!

I kick it back up and push. Hard. So hard that I'm a bit nauseated and can't think of stopping to let someone clip off my timing chip, and walk around a bit before returning and stopping for a kind woman to retrieve the chip.

OK, so at least I never intentionally gave up running. I'll have to forgive myself my faux pas. Besides, it gives me an easier PR (personal record) to break at my next race. Next time I'll be sure to look for that big sign showing the time as you finish before I stop. Oh yeah, that. Small clue that you're actually at the finish line.

After grabbing a drink, I returned to the finish line to cheer on my friends (and others) as they finished, basking in the glow of a race well run.

Oh, you want to know how I did? Well, my Garmin reported 38:45. Woohoo! A sub 39 minute 5k for someone who couldn't run 30 seconds not too long ago. Sub 13-minute mile splits on a 5k for someone who got a doctor to write a note excusing her from all running in elementary school (and beyond).

A few days later, my official time changed the sub-39 minute 5k, but didn't change the sub-13-minute pace. The timing chip reported 39:15. I don't quite know why there was a difference. That's still a 12:40/mi pace. I won't complain.

I was also 42nd in my age group, out of 61. Hard to say where I really placed, because they lumped 5k walkers in with 5k runners. I suspect that I was 42nd out of 43. :) Overall, I was 347th out of 543 5k walkers and runners.

It was a very good day.


Heather said...

Good job on your run... staying on your own pace is one of the hardest things.

I've had people do the stay ahead of the fat girl dance before. It kind of makes me rolls my eyes. Back when I was faster, it amused me to drop them like rocks; the ones I can, I still do. :)

Once again, WAY TO GO!!!

Anonymous said...

You definitely should have the t-shirt made! In fact, when I start racing, I may have to have one just like it!

Kevin Ponds said...

When I did my first 5k, I got passed by a walker. Not a run/walker, but someone who walked the whole race. And I ran the whole race :(

The important thing was, that I finished the race though!

I want a T-shirt like that!

Heather said...

How are you doin?

Still out and running?

Karen said...

Alas, no. Skipping the excuses, I'm just going to say that I'm not. (How's that for honest?)

But, due to rapidly changing circumstances, I'll be back out and about within the next week.

Although, with recent weather, it may be more accurate to say that I'll be "in at the gym". Hey... that rhymes too.

Neelima said...

Staying on the run is so much hard work. Hope you never stop running!