I ran my 2nd 5k this past week - the Jill Behrman 5k. Compared to the 1st 5k, it was brisk which just means it was freakin' cold and windy and grey outside with a smidgen of rain. What a difference a month makes!!
Also, I was sick for this race. I should point out that I am still sick right now (hacking misery spreading my germs far and wide - sweet...) but I was also sick that morning. Who knows with what. I am definitely not heeding the advice out there that says if you are sick stay home. Just call me H1N1 Mary (like Typhoid Mary??)
Any who, I met my friend and we started the race together. My goal had I been well was to improve my time from the Hoosier's Outrun Cancer run to the 23-24 range. Upon waking up Saturday morning, my goal was to make it through the 5k race without, you know, dying.
Goals are made to be broken, eh.
It was such a different vibe at this run. The first one was larger with over a 1,000 5k runners. This 2nd race had 765 runners. It did not feel as well organized. We got into place and I looked at my girlfriend for the 5th or 6th time and earnestly said 'you go when you need to." My lungs were already aching from the cold. We started out and like always I like to run fast at the beginning. We hit the road and found our way out of the masses to a comfortable pace. She took off thankfully because I was wheezing so badly I think I scared the people around me! It was cold and my lungs literally ached from being sick and overworked. I kept breathing into my gloved hand trying to warm my throat and lungs. Puff, wheeze, cough, hack, spit. That went on for most of mile one. I knew there was no way I was going to run as fast as I had the month before even though I know -I KNOW- I am in better shape. Bah.
Mile 2 is my ass kicker. I hate mile 2 officially. I thought last month it was just that I was not in shape, it was from running on the treadmill and no hills and crap mile 2 you are a beast I will need to tame. Growl. I felt the bile rise in my throat the exact same way as the previous race and this time my teeth ached. Nothing like some stomach acids to remind you where you over brush your teeth. That combined with the fact that I could not breath... well it made mile 2 a bitch. I slowed down and scooted WAY over to let people pass and also so I could spit and spit and just in case I figured if I needed to run into the woods to barf.
My boss's sister passed me around the two and half mile marker. I thought JANE. I watched her go by in her pink Team Z shirt. And again like last month I had to shut out my negative thoughts. Which included 'WHY on earth am I doing this to myself?' and 'OMG kill me now' and 'if I just walk a little it won't be SO bad' and finally HACK HACK COUGH SPIT rinse repeat. SUCKAGE, wail poor me. I knew we were getting close to the end so I turned my legs on, my one saving grace my whole life - those short little legs of my mine. It was the same stupid thing with swimming and me. I let my head and lungs and heart get in the way and never let the rest of my body do the work.
I told my silly brain to shut up. And I forced my heart and lungs to go. I caught up to Jane. Jane is 45 and awesome! I said "Hey there! Wanna run in together?!" She glanced over and a huge smile erupted on her face. "You are just what I needed', she breathed back. I felt compelled to run harder with her at my side. And she talked us through it. "Shoulder back, breath deep, dig in..." We ran in together and it was an awesome finish - far better then I envisioned just one mile earlier! I was so glad to have 'run into her' (hardy har). My friend came back after she finished and cheered us in too.
It was like in the last race, I had people who helped me remove myself from me. Little running angels. People to help me get beyond the dooms day feeling I was having. It is amazing how three miles can stretch into eternity. How hard it can be truly - the crazy range of emotions that can kill you or make you stronger.
I finished OMG I cannot even believe I am typing this but I was freaking first in my age group! I know, right? I was slower and I am sure there was less competition in my age group but still?! First. That kind of kicks ass. And motivates me to keep going. Goodness can you imagine how well I could have run had I not nearly barfed up a lung, or two? I ran the race in 26.26.
This 2nd race also made me less scared to train for the Indianapolis Mini which I just committed to for May 2010. I have another 5k coming up in November then I am going to look for some other races to do beyond that. I am amazed at myself, at my ability to focus and commit to running and there are definitely reasons for that amazement. It is amazing because it is something I seriously doubted I would ever be able to do again just a couple of years ago. And I am having a total blast doing it!