Monday, February 7, 2011

This is hard. It may never be easy.

By "this", I mean "running".

Sometimes it's difficult to feel like I'm making any progress at all, because with every race I'm still fighting my body every step of the way. It's like swimming through honey. (Well, it's like I would imagine swimming through honey would be. I've never actually done that.)

Anyway, I had a race yesterday. It was my fifth race ever. And it was mighty hard.

There was snow, and ice, and I had to walk a lot of it. I started out a little too fast, and I felt like crap on a stick right out of the shoot. (What's funny is, my "too fast" start still found me getting passed by 98 percent of the runners. I am okay with this.) So I pulled back. Lots of ice and snow on the ground, so I had to be super careful; my feet kept slipping out from under me.

I didn't fall. I didn't trip anyone. I didn't mind that there were dogs on the course. That was actually one of my favorite things! I met two or three different Golden Retrievers out there, each of them willing to cheer me on. At least, that's how I interpreted them sniffing my butt.

I got to the Mile 2 marker in under 30 minutes. That meant I was running/walking at less than a 15-minute-mile pace. I have never done that before. It was possible that I would finish in under 45 minutes! Run run run ... walk. Repeat. Katy Perry's "Fireworks" came on my iPod, and I took the hill as quickly as I could. Which was still pretty slow, but it felt good because I love that song. Pressing forward, I knew I was near the finish when I could see the middle school to my right. As I rounded the corner, there was my dear friend Linda to cheer me on and run the last leg with me.

And I ran. I was already over the 45-minute mark, so I wasn't going to reach my goal, but I was having fun. And then I stopped having fun; I was gasping for breath and feeling really awful for what felt like eternity but was actually just a few seconds. A quick check of my watch told me why - my heart rate was at 198 beats per minute. Um, yeah. Slow down, girl.

So I walked a little bit, and then took off (and by "took off" I mean "slogged like buffalo") toward the finish line, running those last few yards.

I was disappointed in myself, because my goals was to finish under 45. I knew I hadn't done that. I had failed.

I hate failing.

But I finished. In snow and ice, I finished.

This morning, the results were posted. Here's where I stood:

Finished overall: 335 of 360
26 of 27 in my age group
Time: 47.37
Pace per mile: 15:21

What does that mean to you? Well, for starters, it means I'm a slow runner. But, just for fun, let's compare it to my last two races:

Santa Run
December 4, 2010
Finished overall: 795 of 837
Time: 51:41:0
Pace per mile: 16:40

Hot Chocolate 5K
November 6, 2010
Finished overall: 11627 of 12702
Time: 49:56
Pace per mile: 16:05

Yeah. I shaved 4 minutes off my last time, which was also in snow. And I was even faster than my November time - on a beautiful sunny day - by more than two minutes.

It's progress. And that's all I'm looking for.

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