Second 5K of the summer

Just finish before the pregnant lady. And the nine-year-old.

When I wrote down my goals for today’s 5k, I thought of three things: Finish it. Finish it in under 40 minutes. If you’re having a good day, finish it in under 36:10. 

Then, I got to the start of the 5K, which was in what you would call a “tony” part of town. And when I saw the pregnant woman pushing the stroller with a number attached to her shirt and the kids – lots and lots of kids – I told myself the first statement of this post, and texted it to a runner friend of mine in Canada.

The starting line wasn’t really clear, just a line of blue tape across a side street. And then the race started – with an actual starting gun, and before I knew it, people started jogging. At a really fast pace. And I was jolted to run. But as I went through that first half mile, I watched all the happy runners in front of me and thought, by the first mile and a half, a lot of these people will be walking. 

Sure enough. By the time I trotted to the first mile, I passed several people who’d already begun to walk. I felt a little better about myself. I remember a lot of the run. There were lots of dads pushing strollers. Three cyclists cut across the course at one point, as a course marshal’s back was turned (smooth move, buddy). Some kid had a super soaker and I waved at him. He aimed in my direction. Man, did that cool blast feel good.

After the 2-mile mark, I came upon the second and final hill. 

OK, here’s the last hill. OK, I’ve done hills before … once before.

I remembered what a coworker told me about running up hills: shorten your stride and pantomime pulling yourself up the hill with a rope.

Then, as I rounded the corner towards the high school, something kicked in. I motored in that last quarter of a mile, and I didn’t see pregnant women or nine-year-olds. I saw the scoreboard above the football field as I crossed the finish line.

34:52.  

My runner friend wrote back to me after the 5k: “HA HA! Good luck! You got this!” 

See me run. No. See me lumber.

I don’t like to run. I don’t like jogging. At all. But I do it because I need something to offset all of the biking and weight training I do – cross training, if you will.

I am in awe of people who willingly run 26.2 miles in a single morning. Not because they have finished it but more along the lines of, “Are you crazy to do that to your body?”

Then again, people look at me like I’m crazy when I take my bike out for 26.2 miles three times a week. So it’s all relative.

But Sunday morning I had a minor breakthrough. Maybe the weather was right (cool, overcast). Maybe I got enough sleep. Maybe I had a good breakfast (two cups of coffee, and a bowl of Greek yogurt and strawberries). Or maybe I just felt like, OK, I’m gonna go run, oh yay.

But I started pacing … and only stopped twice. Once because I felt pain in my ankle and once when I hit the two-mile mark. This is a big accomplishment. I never, ever thought I had the body type or the willpower for jogging. When I started jogging less than three weeks ago, completing two miles was a struggle. Then I read about an acquaintance who was proud of herself for running one mile. I felt better about myself. And then I thought something:

You know what? I’ll lumber through my three miles twice a week and keep feeling good about myself afterwards.