As I sat down this morning to write a race recap of last night’s 5k, I realized that a recap of that race wouldn’t make sense without a recap of the whole, glorious day.
I had 15 miles on the schedule for yesterday’s training run — a longer distance than I’d ever run consecutively. It was a little intimidating, but I knew that if I’d run a half marathon, I could do 15 miles. Then, Rosebud and I heard about this nighttime race about an hour from my place. We knew we had to sign up. The race offered a 5k, 10k and half marathon. Rosebud signed up for the 10k and I the half marathon — I’d just need to squeak out another 1.9 miles before or after the race. No biggie.
But as the race day drew closer, I was feeling more and more like I needed to stick to my routine: a nice, long morning run. And then, J got injured — plantar fasciitis, complete with instructions from her doctor not to run for three months (at least). But we really wanted to do this race. You see, we started running races together last September — the Panda Bear Run would be a perfect closer for a year of Rosebud races. So neither of us wanted to miss it. Besides, it was at night — how cool is that?
So, we didn’t know what to do. And I was fretting about my 15 miles. Then, a friend from my running bootcamp asked if I wanted to run the 15 miles with her and her sister-in-law at 5:45 Saturday morning. Now, typically this friend’s pace is a bit slower than mine, so I knew I was going to have to slow it down if I was going to run with them. But, honestly, the prospect of running with company for such a long time was really enticing. And, the trail I like to run my long runs on is dark and goes through the woods (it is paved, though). I was a little nervous about running in the dark, through those woods, by myself. So I opted for the company — slower pace and all. Besides, I decided that once it got light I could take off at my own pace.
We met right at 5:45 and took off on our run — the morning was perfect: cool, calm. Before we knew it, we were at mile 4.5 and then mile 8 and then mile 10. “Holy crap, Kimberly, running with people is really nice,” I said to myself several times. Honestly, I’m so used to running alone that I never knew what it was like to actually run with people. We had lovely conversation, and I got to know these two women — who are each very inspiring in their own rights. So, yeah, I was moving more slowly than I would have been had I been running by myself. But it wasn’t really that much slower: I ended up finishing our run at a 10:46 pace, and I was feeling very, very good.
After the race I was planning on a shower and a quick nap — too bad I had forgotten about an eyebrow wax appointment. No nap for me. Ah well, getting rid of my “Sasquatch eyebrows” (my old stylist’s name for them) was much more important than sleep.
I met my running bootcamp friends for lunch — one of the women I had run with in the morning and another friend who actually ran the same trail as us (we passed her on our way back in). Lunch was delicious: Egg white scramble with grilled chicken assorted veggies and feta cheese, with tomato-swirled toast.
My afternoon was pretty low-key: Reading, blogging, hanging out and taking it easy. And (still) fretting over the night’s race. After running 15 miles already, I knew it wouldn’t be smart for me to do the half marathon. So I was considering doing the 10k and treating the first half of it like a tempo run and then just walk/running the rest of it with Rosebud. Maybe once J got here she could help me make the decision.
But first, we needed to eat. Our favorite spot? The Hibachi Sushi Buffet. I had salad, sushi, fruit and — you know me! — ice cream.
And then we hit the road, as the race was about an hour and a half away. It was kind of confusing to find the packet pick-up/starting line. The directions just said “at the corner of Center and Superior streets.” Except that these streets ran parallel to each other. Luckily, it was a small town and after driving around for a while we saw the tent.
By the time we picked up our packets I had decided: 5k it would be. The race organized was very, um, disorganized. He also seemed very distracted by everything that was going on around him. Regardless, we had our packets, and I had my plan: the 5k would be the tempo run I missed on vacation.
One of the best parts of the race? My brother, his girlfriend and two of their daughters came to say hi to us before the race. We got a chance to visit and catch up — I don’t get that opportunity too much anymore. And, let me be honest, my brother is such a cool guy. I don’t even think he knows how cool I think he is.
We watched the half marathoners start. I admit I was a little sad not to be among them, but I knew my legs couldn’t take it. Then the 10kers took off. And, finally, it was time for the 5k race to start. J and I hugged and did our Rosebud Headbump. When the race started, I worked my way through to the front. I kept a steady pace of about 8:58 the whole way — feeling good, feeling strong. My legs didn’t complain once, and they never asked for a break. Also, in case you’ve never done it, running at night is so very cool — I just wish I had someone to do it with me because I’m still nervous about dark-time running all alone.
As I got closer to the finish line, I picked up the pace a bit. In all honesty, I felt so good I probably should have picked it up sooner. I crossed the finish line at 27:40! Not quite a PR, but it’s the fastest I’ve done a 5k in a long, long time — and my best “tempo run” yet. There are no excuses for not being able to keep it up as I go forward. If I can run a fast 5k on tired long-run legs, I can run a fast 5k on strong, well-rested legs.
I ate a half of a banana and took back to the trail to meet up with Rosebud and cross the finish line with her — I’m going to miss this part. I love our race chats/dances/songs as we head back to the finish line. It’s funny because as I passed runners who were headed to the finish line as I was headed back out, I told them “good job,” “keep it up,” “nice running.” Then, they all started saying it to me. I smiled — because I’d already finished but also because runners really are a fun, supportive group of people.
When I saw Rosebud, I was hesitant to run up and hug her like normal — she looked different in the dark, and I wasn’t 100 percent certain it was her. If it hadn’t been, I’m sure me staring at her then hugging her would have creeped her out. Then I saw her take out her headphones and start talking to me. She was walking at a great pace (and, don’t tell her doctor, she’d even run some for the first half hour or so). And we enjoyably finished our last run together (at least for the immediate future).
This? This is the good life.