I have been struggling with my running. Yes, I still get up 4-5 mornings a week at o’dark thirty, throw on my shoes, do some pre-game yoga and head out, but the fact is I’m just going through the motions.
I’d like to think it’s the unending heat and humidity (really, it’s nearly mid september and I still need to run my a/c?), my increasing intolerance for said H&H, age, discouraging race results, some weight gain, stress from the move, etc. etc. but the fact is, there’s an ebb and flow to hobbies, and this one is definitely in a lull.
In need of a pick-me-up, I registered for my running club’s Labor Day Classic 5K, not expecting much, but knowing that I’d get a few shout-outs because it’s a local race. A friend (a formerly very serious tri-athlete who’s recovering from a 2 1/2 year old concussion) was making this her come-back race and she asked if I would run with her. I was not doing her any favors–instead, this was my chance to try to run a solid race and turn things around.
Our 3 miles clocked in at 16:29 (
i think clearly i started my watch long before the gun), 9:08 and 8:36. My overall time was 27:58:59. More than a minute off my PB, but a solid performance. Moreover, I experienced exactly what separates the wheat from the chaff–with about 400m to go, my girlfriend said, “c’mon, 400 meters, let’s get this” and she sped off. I, on the other hand, was too focused on the heat and potential nausea, and kept my pace until about 100m to go, when I then sped up. I’m not a fan of being uncomfortable, but clearly, if I want to move beyond my current skill level, that’s something I need to embrace–the discomfort.
So the race finished and I was more or less ambivalent about my results. I wish I had been faster, closer to my PR, but given my lack of serious training and the very warm day, it was a solid run. When the official race results posted though, I was pleasantly surprised–8th (of 23) in my age group! And 49th (of 188) in my gender! Yes, it’s silly to seek validation by comparing my results to others, but sometimes it’s the boost you need to get over the hump.
I may still be on the climb out of the slump, but seeing my results made me a little bit more excited for my next event–the Run Around the Block on Block Island, Rhode Island. This will be a very hilly 15k challenge in the middle of the day, but for the first time in a long time, it’s a run I’m looking forward to.
Oh, and here we are, before and after, none too worse for the wear