St. Pat's 5K Run/Walk
Yes, I did. Injury and all. I wasn't planning on it. Truly. But when you wake up in the morning and find yourself overwhelmed with the desire to do a race (after months of indifference), you just go with it. At least I did.
Yesterday was the local St. Pat's 10-Miler and 5K. Last year, because it was on St. Patrick's Day, it was a 17K, which I ran. You can see my race report here. It wasn't the best day, and - as with so many races that don't go well - I swore I would never do it again. Well, I lied to myself apparently, because yesterday I did it again, albeit the short version.
Waking up in the morning, I had no intention of doing a 5K. In fact, my schedule had a one-hour run/walk planned for me. This is my down week, as I am trying valiantly to build up time on my feet during my weekend long "efforts" while recovering (hopefully) from this IT band injury. I am using Galloway's run/walk method to slowly get myself running more, and right now I am at a 1:30 run to 3:30 walk interval. I am being VERY conservative getting back into this. Why? Well, that is the topic of another post, but in short the ITB is still bugging me a bit and I don't ever, ever, ever want to piss it off again.
Anyway, like I said, I had no intention of doing any sort of race, but while getting the kids ready to join my parents for church I saw the local news guys at the start of the St. Pat's run/walk. All of the sudden, without any explanation, I got really excited about the idea of replacing my one hour run/walk with this 5K. Since the folks in the background didn't look like they were about ready to head out (it was 7:30 a.m.), I told myself that if I looked online and the race didn't start until 9, then I would do it. Seeing as the course wasn't that far from me made this doable. So, I looked and the decision was made.
Next began a mad rush to choke down some oatmeal and get dressed in the multiple layers required for 6 degrees (thankfully, above zero). I tried to take special care of how I dressed since I am getting over a head cold. I certainly didn't want this madness to result in making the cold worse.
The race itself was just what I needed. I got there, registered, stuffed the shirt they gave me in my puffy jacket pocket, and then found some friends from the local running community to chat with. It was a great morning of nominal anonymity as I made this first foray into running events this year. (I don't count the Samson Stomp in January, as I wasn't excited about that one really.)
Starting out the event, I had every intention of sticking to my 1:30/3:30 interval split, but one gets caught up in the crowd and the first time I actually looked down at my watch, I was already approaching 4 minutes of running. It did flit through my mind to just go with it, but then my head overtook my heart and I decided to drop back to a walk and do the rest of the 5K at my modest run/walk intervals.
So, how did I do? Well, given that the walk interval is two minutes longer than the running one, I would have expected finishing somewhere north of 40 minutes. However, according to my watch, I finished 3.11 miles in 35:31. That's better than some 5Ks I have run with slower friends, and not much slower than some I have just run on my own. Woot! And that leads me to my next Mischung topic....namely....
In all honesty, I can say that if there is one thing I am pleased with - as a result of this injury - is my walking. I set out to use this time, inasmuch as I could, to teach myself how to walk quickly, as I have always been a dawdle walker. And, I think I have succeeded. During the race yesterday, I walked fast, at times 13:30 pace or faster. But, the most amazing thing, is I was quite comfortable doing so. I wasn't huffing and puffing. During these fast walk breaks, I was quite capable of catching my breath. Now, this tells me a couple of things: first, that with proper technique I am sure I could walk much faster, and, second, that I am ready to take on some longer trail ultras (at least mentally). I am not that fast of a runner, but I always figured that more than anything it was the walking that slowed me down. Not because of the walking itself (because a lot of folks do that on trail ultras), but rather because I walk so slowly. I think that has changed now, and I am excited by that.
It sucks. I have given up. It's hopeless. Okay. That's the short story. The long story is - in brief - that I was getting seriously frustrated by the fact that I wasn't seeing any results big enough to record. There may have been micro-gains here and there but it wasn't enough to keep me motivated. I think if I were to try this again (which I probably will at some point), I would need to be in a better place to start with. I know, that is probably cheating somehow. But, when I do this I want to be able to run...not be in that no-man's land of the run/walk. Also, it would help to have a coach (or cheerleader) to jolly me along when the going got tough. I know, I am high-maintenance like that. Anyway, I am sure there is something to it, but I just wasn't ready to take the time to figure it out yet.
At our running club's volunteer appreciation dinner recently, I actually won a free session of VO2 testing. I don't have too much to say about this yet, but I am excited about it and will write it up once I have done it.
So, that's all... for today. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
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