A week ago, I ran my first 5k since last August. I had to go back and verify with my training log, but October was the last time I did any sort of speed work. Short distances on the track: 400s, 800s, 1000 meter repeats, ladder workouts. Short and fast. Recovery intervals. A workout that makes you hurt.
I had almost forgotten that kind of hurt.
As I lined up to start the 5k, I tried not to think about it. Negative voices swirled around my brain: “You’re slower this time.” “You’re not as fast last year.” “You’ve gained weight.” “You need a break.” I didn’t even know how fast I could run anymore. Sub 8:00 miles were a distant memory, replaced with longer intervals and marathon specific pace work. Those evil little self-doubts crept back in, but I pushed them aside. “Just run, Eileen. Don’t even look at your watch.”
My fast running group friend was my rabbit again. We started together. I fell in line behind her and focused on an even effort with my eyes trained ahead – not on my Garmin. The first quarter mile or so was up a hill, but I knew the payoff would come at the end since the course was out and back. Just before the turn around I was hurting, and huffing, and trying to even out my breathing. At the mile two marker, I briefly glanced at my Garmin to see the overall time – 15:24 – not my pace. I continued to try to catch my friend, and evaluate if I was giving all I could. Two male runners passed me in the last mile, and I tried to catch another. We ran at the same pace for a minute or so, then he pulled ahead. A woman on the other side of the road called out “5th female” as I ran past. I welcomed the downhill as I cruised in to the finish and stopped my watch. My official finish time was 24:25.
I don’t know if I was more excited that I ran without checking my pace, or that my mile splits were all under 8:00 with the final mile being my fastest. I almost always go out too fast for the first mile in a 5k. My splits were 7:47, 7:56, 7:41. I also got first in my age group, a nice benefit of local races.
I now have a base time to work from. Once I run my next half marathon on Saturday, I have a plan to change up my cardio and fitness that will hopefully help me shed some weight and gain some speed.
I picked up a couple of other trinkets the same day:
It did feel odd to get a medal two weeks after running a race on my own.
Since we were just a few minutes away and it was such a beautiful day, I took the kids to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. They enjoyed it more than I thought they would and we did have a good time together.
Springtime is my favorite time of year!