Can I begin by asking what happened to spring? Seventy degrees at seven am is July weather, not April!
I am an infrequent racer because I haven't quite come to terms with chasing the ghost of the runner I once was, before I got cancer, before Bleomycin robbed me of a lot of lung capacity. I ran a few 5Ks last year, finishing off the year with a 22:55. That's my 5K post-cancer PR.
Really had no clue what to expect. I have been training well (despite my arm problem), but have reduced my volume from the past and the only type of speed work I've done is throwing in some hills to my daily runs. I have a tendency to get injured with speed work, which is why I avoid it. That said, I've found to run a 5K well, I really have to do specific work, like working on getting out fast the first mile. Given the lack of any specific work, I was figuring mid-23s finish seemed realistic and doable.
That's until I woke up to 70 degrees with strong winds ... probably 20-30 MPH. Revised my goal to just break 24 minutes.
Lined up a few rows back -- there were about 180 people. The course is essentially flat, with a couple very small rolling hills. Just enough to add some variety. To their credit, even though this is just a community "fun run" the course was properly marked, with people calling time, and it was accurate. I ran the tangents (or tried to) and my Garmin 205 recorded the distance at 3.12 which is about as close as you can get.
Anyway, took off running right into the wind ... And within the first quarter mile was dodging the kids who went out at a sprint and then just died. Wind was so strong it really messed up my breathing, so I spent the first half mile dealing with that.
The breathing thing is my arch nemesis and every race I do, I go through a short period where all I want to do is quit. It's like this is uncomfortable, this isn't fun, I don't want to be doing this, I want to just stop and walk. I don't know if I'm unique that way or what, but I went through the whole "I don't want to be doing this" internal drama at the half mile point. Usually that's a bad sign of things to come, but I have been working on mantras to get through rough periods when my chest hurts on some of my daily runs. ("Relax." "Pick them up, set them down." "Relentless. Forward. Progress." "Run with your heart.") Even so, I had to resort to the usual mind trick that I use when running up the big hills around here -- "listen brain, yes this sucks, but it will be over shortly, and does it suck more than chemo? No. No it doesn't. You're tougher than you think, So shut up and let's keep moving."
I talk to myself a lot when I run.
After that rough period, the rest of the race was uneventful, except for the sun BLASTING us in the face at mile 2 to 3. It was quite hot for early April.
I'm actually very good at pacing and my splits were nice and even: 7:22, 7:25 (man that was one hot mile), 7:17, and 0:47 (6:24/pace), for a finish time of 22:53, which is what I think was my actual official time. So it was a post-cancer PR by 2 seconds. I finished strong and had a little left, but not so much I feel I could have run that much faster. First in the 25-29 age group, 4th woman overall (or so said the guy at the finish line) -- I came in right behind number 3 but couldn't catch her with my sprint.
Overall happy with the race, not sure what I'll be doing after it or what my future 5k goals are. Would like to see if a 22:30 is doable, that may be my next goal.
I was most glad that I felt happy with my raceand didn't feel any of those pangs of regrets about what used to be. I am coming to terms with the whole ghost-runner of my past. That's good. That's a definite big step forward, a definite step in the right direction for me.