Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Anatomy of a 5K

I have been plagued as of late with a list of excuses as to why I have so much trouble finding time to run. "I'm too tired", "It's too hot!", "My foot hurts", and on and on. When I finally found the weather to be better suited for running and I had begun vitamin regime again I began to run again. I, who had never suffered anything more severe than falling down and scrapping my knee, suddenly was overtaken by a series of injuries! First, my hip showing off for Joe, pretending that I still was the School Yard Rope Skipping champion! The the horrible blisters on the back of my heels from wearing low riding socks, and last the slightly sprained ankle! That knocked me out for about 10 days.

Saturday morning is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I had entered Joe any myself quite some time ago. Joe, due to having to work, was unable to go! I could not allow the entry fee to go unused, so I think to myself, "What the heck, I've competed in a triatholon without training, how hard can a 5K be?"

This is how it went.

No gun sounded for the beginning of the race. Just a gentle push forward of the over 1,000 participants towards the starting line. Then suddenly a big surge and we are off! It is almost, but not quite a stampede. Walkers blend in with the runners and it is necessary to pick your way around them on the crowded street. That is the beginning. Then you have to be wary of the Yuppie Runners who are there only because they can not find a baby sitter for their children and so they have them in the stroller especially made for racing! LOOK OUT! They are usually serious runners and therefore ruthless! Do not ever allow yourself to become tripped up by one of those contraptions! It is very painful to be run over by a 50 pound five year old, who gives you the thumbs up while his parent gives the stroller a Herculean push over your knocked down body!

This race was very unusual in the fact that the miles were not marked. Therefore, no one was stationed with a stop watch barking out time splits. Actually, this was okay with me. The only thing more humiliating than being overtaken by the Gray Panther Team In Training group is having someone yell out in an incredulous voice at mile marker two, "TWENTY TWO FORTY SIX????????!!!!!!!!!!!!" At least that is what it sounds like through the blood pounding through your head. That is right before the sinus cavities clasp and then it sounds like your running underwater.

Having no idea where I was in terms of distance, I ran feeling strong. The psychological compromise that generally begins to take place around mile two did not occur. The compromise goes like this, "You have run two miles, now you should be able to walk for just a few moments! Just a few moments. Just a few moments." It's tough to overcome, because if you give in it feels like quitting.

When Main Street began the curve towards Vine Street I knew the finish line was several blocks ahead. I could not believe it! I still felt strong and moving pretty steadily in a forward motion! Then I saw it finally, MILER MARKER THREE!!! Hurray! One tenth of a mile left!

I mentally prepared myself for the surge. I am really good with the surge towards the finish line. Once I see it, I can sprint towards it! Well, sprint is a subjective term. I run faster. And then it happened, the ankle began to pull.

So that was me, hopping, skipping and jumping the last little bit. I was saying, "Ouch, Dang it, Ouch" as I hobbled down Vine just in case anyone was watching me. I did not want them to think that I usually run that way! Jesus Mary and Joseph! Despite it all, I finished in 32 minutes and seven seconds. I am totally blown away. I told Joe I thought it was a mistake, he said, "You always say that". "Yes, but that's when they say its 36 minutes, this is 32 minutes!"

And so, I hope to run in the Race for the Cure in Louisville next month. We get to run over the Second St Bridge that spans the Ohio River. It is really exhilarating!

I'm shooting for under 30 minutes.......Now if I just train.

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