Sunday, November 1, 2015

Clean Air Dash 5K

Sometimes runners do things sign up for a 5K on a whim.  Whelp, yours truly did exactly that during a moment of weakness last weekend.  While only having gotten back into the routine of running after some recovery time from my half-marathon, I thought, "I did 5Ks all the time!  How hard can this be?"  Well, let's just say there was a learning curve.

Leading up the race, I knew the weather was going to be on the chilly side.  I had done a couple runs during the week and became accustomed to using the zipper of my hoodie to control by body temperature.  I had all planned out what clothing to wear and had a vague idea of what time I could realistically accomplish the distance based off of my half-marathon time.  The morning of the race, I got in my car after packing all possibly necessary amenities and was off.  After getting lost for a short period of time due to not knowing the area where the race was hosted, I did finally find a place to park (any race close to the city = street parking).  When I stepped out of my car, the air didn't feel as cool as I expected to which I figured I could get away with just wearing my tech hoodie.

I made my way a few blocks over to the registration table to pick up my race packet, shirt, and (surprise!) a drawstring bag.  I love when I get useful swag from races!  Anyway, I began my warm-up, but oddly couldn't seem to get my muscles engaged.  It didn't matter if I jogged for a bit, performed some dynamic stretches or just stretched statically.  While I was mentally ready for the race, my legs just didn't seem to want to work.

The time finally came to line up for the race and I positioned myself toward the middle since I try to not go out too strong.  The gun when off and the race began!...or it would have if the course had been wide enough to accommodate the number of runners participating.  During parts of the 3.1 miles, I found myself having to slow down or squeeze past in very narrow spaces.  At the same time, my shins began to ache (as they usually do when I push too hard too fast) making my light steps become much heavier.  The entire race, I felt that any endurance I may have claimed to have was abandoning me.  As a result of the build-up of all this physical pain and mental frustration, the finish line was a welcome sight.

The time I had was an improvement from what I had run during my half-marathon a month before, but it was a few minutes off from what I was able to do in high school and college.  Though disappointed, I keep reminding myself that I have to recognize what my capabilities are now and not what they had once been.  In time, I hope to return to the pace I was able to run, but to rush it will only lead to injury.  I have also become a firm believer in the "runner's high, because what I have found is that the longer I run, the faster I go.  Even during my normal runs, I feel my best when I reach mile 3 or 4.  Maybe this is a sign I should consider taking part in longer racers....

I'm now setting my sights on a Turkey Trot at the end of November and a Christmas-themed race in December.  Maybe my body will be more in tune with those events - we shall see!

Happy running!

Find my full review of the race on BibRave.

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