Okay, so as you know, I started running last fall. I’m not looking to set the world on fire, I’m not looking to shatter any speed records. No, for me, it’s simply a two-fold matter of A, getting my fat doughy ass off the couch and trying to get in shape again, and B, the fact that one of my bucket list goals is to finish a marathon. I am nowhere even remotely resembling close to being ready for a marathon, since I still can’t run an entire 5K without walking yet, but I’m working on it. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.
Anyway, yesterday was the Scheels 5K here in Springfield. I registered for it a couple weeks before the Earthshine trip last month. I even stopped by the Springfield Running Center Friday afternoon and got fitted for a good pair of running shoes. I chose the Brooks Ghost 5, for those to whom that might matter. The Scheels 5K was my third 5K I have run, the first two being the Jingle Bell Run last November, followed up in April with the Homeier. What wound up making this run special for me was that Gina, my good friend and reluctant “mentor”, ran this race as well. She’s amazing. She’s run marathons- she’s a REAL runner- and she has been gracious enough to give me tips, inspiration, and motivation. Because she is far more accomplished than am I, she finished the race [what seemed like] about a week and a half before I did, so I didn’t get to run “with” her, but I finally got to run with her. One day down the literal and proverbial road, Gina, I’mma actually run with you with you!
I was woefully unprepared for this race- I haven’t run since about three weeks after the Homeier, which was in late April. “Excuses, excuses”, but it’s increasingly hard to find the time to get out and run (especially during the summer when the boys are home), and it has been hotter than Satan’s nutsack here, especially the last week or so. Like many places in the country, we’ve been tying and/or breaking high-temperature records- and we here in the Midwest have the humidity on top of the heat- and I am not good with running in extreme weather. I had a hard time running when it was colder than a witch’s titty last winter, and I have an even harder time summoning the desire to run when it’s hot as balls and you have to chew your breaths carefully before you inhale. That’s just a mental thing that I simply have to overcome if I really want to improve.
Since Dawn apparently isn’t going to move us to a place where it’s sunny and 72˚ all year round. [sigh]
Anyway, “gun” time yesterday was at 7:00am. (I know, right? I should get a medal just for attempting to run a race that frickin’ early and WITH NO COFFEE. It’s a shocker I didn’t kill someone.) Temperature at start time was- so I was told later- a balmy 86˚, with 82% humidity (or maybe it was 82˚ with 86% humidity- like it matters) and there was virtually no breeze. It was hot as a crotch out there. Brutal. And again, this was at 7:00 in the morning. We ended up breaking another high-temperature mark yesterday. Yay?
I started near the back of the pack, since I’m slow and have absolutely no plans to even attempt trying to finish first, and, early on, I think I was actually THE last runner, and that’s okay. I’m not proud. Even if I had finished dead last, finishing last is still finishing. I started off “feeling” pretty good, but I think I started too fast, and given my lack of running the last few weeks, coupled with the weather conditions, I started walking about 8 minutes in. I wanted to at least go a mile before I started walking, but I just couldn’t do it. I started off with my friends Chris and Sarah, and after playing leapfrog with them a couple times, I fell back a ways from them shortly before the halfway point. After making the turn at said halfway point, I was in rough shape. I was literally drenched with sweat, my quads were screaming, and I was having trouble breathing because of the humidity. And because I’m so out of shape, of course. My feet, in my brand new shoes, felt great, however. Honestly, today, my quads are the only things really sore. I have no blisters at all, and I had virtually no shin splint issues, either during or after the race, that have afflicted me throughout my short running career. So, Brooks Ghost 5 = win. Well done, Jim at Springfield Running Center. Well done.
So I’m on the way back, and I’m moving quite slowly. I made the turn off of MacArthur, heading around the back of Quaker Steak & Lube on the final stretch to the finish line. I walked from directly behind Quaker Steak to the southeast corner of Scheels, and then I just summoned what little strength I had left and ran the rest of the way around the building to the finish. For my own standards, I have to actually run across the finish line or it doesn’t “count”. (Next goal is to run the entire 5K so that it REALLY “counts”. Again, baby steps.) I made that final turn and there it was- that beautiful finish line. There stood Amie Meneghetti from Cool 101.9, who was doing a remote, microphone in hand, cheering me on to the finish. She high-fived me as I ran the last few yards and crossed the finish line. The best part, though, was seeing Gina, and hearing her yell her support. (That was huge for me, Gina, you have no idea. Thank you.)
I crossed the finish line and felt that rush of “I finished a race!” coupled with “Thank GOD that’s over!”. I love that feeling, for both reasons. Gina gave me a huge hug and a bottle of water and congratulated me. As I mentioned earlier, today I feel fine, other than my quads are tight and my back is a little stiff, but I expected that. Anyway, here are my official stats:
Official time: 42:35 (my best 5K time to date)
Overall finish: 257/276
Age group (40-49) finish: 20/23
Gender finish: 104/112
Now truthfully, those numbers, especially my placing, aren’t very good, but I don’t care. I downplay my abilities on the Facebooks and the Twitters, but I’m genuinely very proud of how I did yesterday. My 5K times have improved with each race, and as long as I can keep my big girl panties on and brave the heat, I’ll get better. There is a 5K on the 21st that I’ve been strongly considering entering, especially now since Gina said she’s running that one too, and then there is the 2-mile State Fair Parade Run that kicks off the fair parade (duh) on August 9th. I’d also like to do the Abe’s Amble 10K on the last day of the fair, but unless I can really step it up in the next month, I think that’ll have to wait until next year. There is also a warrior dash in September that I’m eyeballing, and a couple more 5Ks in the fall before the next Jingle Bell Run in November.
You’ve got some time for right now, Gina, but mark my words: One day you’re gonna have me chasing you down.