My blogging lately has been confined to monthly notes to/about Connor (and imported tweets from my Twitter feed). That means that I’ve completely missed out on writing about one of my few non-Connor activities: running.
To summarize: since I came back from maternity leave in late November, I’ve been running with my good friend Sheryl twice a week during our lunch breaks. We made it through all nine weeks of the Couch-to-5K program, run/walking the 2011 Jingle Bell Run (with Sheryl’s friend Don, who wrote the race report I failed to write) in 40:21 after only a few weeks on the program. The Get Luckey 5K on February 11 was our official post-C25K Let’s-Run-The-Whole-Thing race.
And we did.
It’s been a mild winter, so it must be some application of Murphy’s Law that the only really cold and snowy morning happened on race day. Sheryl and her boyfriend came and picked me up in her SUV, and with the road conditions, we barely made it out to Luckey in time — and, of course, the parking lot was full, so we had to drive back down to the overflow parking. At least we had enough time to go inside the American Legion hall, where the race would start and end, and grab a quick potty break before the race.
The race contingent seemed to be predominantly high school cross country teams, with a healthy smattering of young to middle-aged adults and a few Masters (aka senior citizens). For once, though, I kind of felt like I belonged, hanging out there with the women at the starting line.
See, the premise of the Get Luckey 5K is that the women start three minutes before the men, so the men and women (theoretically) end at the finish line together. Valentine’s Day and all that, you know. So, Sheryl and I stationed ourselves near the back of the pack of women, knowing that our usual 14-minute mile would put us at the back of the entire race.
But we didn’t care. We were going to run the whole thing, pace be damned. It was our race, not anyone else’s, and we didn’t care how many people passed us.
After some amusing pre-race banter by the Guy With The Megaphone, the starting gun sounded, and off we went.
The race itself was fairly uneventful (apart from being ELEVEN DEGREES out, anyway). Three miles of running in the country, on snowy and slushy roads. Sheryl and I typically run between 2.5 to three miles during our lunch runs, so we convinced ourselves it was just a normal run, but in the snow, and with other people. No pressure — nothing out of the ordinary, anyway. Our biggest complaint, outside of the slush, was the fact that we couldn’t talk about our personal lives like we would on a normal run, with so many other people within earshot.
Of course, before we even hit Mile One, we got passed by the fastest men. Eventually, we got passed by most of the men — even a little old man with the most adorable shuffle. Go, Grandpa! Rock out that sub-freezing 5K with the youngsters. That’s completely awesome; I hope I’m still running in another thirty years.
The results were encouraging: we didn’t stop for a single walk break, and we beat our Jingle Bell Run 5K time by about one minute, finishing in 39:25 (see our route/pace on RunKeeper).
We both felt a hell of a lot better after this race, though: Sheryl didn’t sit down on the ground and try not to puke, and I didn’t have to keep walking around to keep my legs from seizing up on me. We went into the Legion Hall, turned in our timing tags, got ourselves a banana (and a hot chocolate for me), and talked to the one other runner we knew: the coordinator of the Fitness Center at our work (who, incidentally, is over ten years our senior and beat us by ten minutes).
We knew we didn’t break any land speed records, so after we finished our post-race snack, we took our leave before the race results were announced and bailed well before the mass exodus of race participants. We knew the results would be posted online, anyway, and we knew we’d beat our last 5K time, and we knew we felt good about our race.
I’m torn as to whether I want to wait until we improve our pace and sign up for another 5K, or if we should try something just a little longer next, like a four-miler, or a five-miler, or an 8K. For now, I think I’m content with just running with Sheryl at lunch and continuing to build my base and endurance. Once we need another challenge, we’ll think about where to go next.