Monday, March 14, 2011

Personal record

If there's one thing runners strive for - and I should know; I'm a runner - it's setting a new Personal Record. This is proof that we've run our strongest race; we've run it in less time than we have before.

Yesterday, I set a new Personal Record in a 5K - 45:23. In the Long Grove St. Paddy's Day 5K, I came in at number 307 in a field of 347. I was 25 out of 32 in my age group. (My friend Rebekah was right in the middle of the field, coming in at 16 out of 32 in our age group; how cool is THAT?) My pace clocked in at about 14:38/mile.

This, for me, is awesome. It's an incredible achievement for Runner Maggie, because it's the first time I've completed a race at something less than a 15-minute mile. This has been my goal since I started running, and I was never really sure I'd achieve it.

Yesterday, I did. Feels pretty incredible.

The race was not without incident. Right at the Mile 2 marker, I got a horrific cramp in my right calf. Could be a magnesium deficiency, could be dehydration, or it could be as simple as fatigue. All I know for sure is, it still hurts. But it meant that I needed to take that last mile slowly; it meant walking. But in the end, it worked out okay. Rebekah met me just before the finish line, and she ran with me through the end. (One of my favorite moments; I love my supportive, amazing friends!)

Lessons learned from this race:
  • Rest really is just as important as work. I went relatively easy on myself for training last week, and it paid off. Something to remember.
  • This also means that I really only have three solid weeks to train for the next race - the Shamrock Shuffle on April 10. It's an 8K, or 4.97 miles. Once my calf stops hurting, I'll be back training, hopefully by the end of this week.
  • It is much more fun when you stop taking yourself so damn seriously. Sometimes I embarass myself with how slow I am. I want to do well. I want to make myself proud. I don't want my friends to be waiting for hours at the finish line while I muddle through trying to make it. But in this race, I simply reminded myself that I am not competing with anyone. This is my race. There's only me, doing my best ... whatever that happens to be today. And the whole point is to have fun, right? I had fun. I soaked up the atmosphere. I dodged dog poop. (Really, they could have cleaned the trail.) It was a blast. Well, except for the dog poop.
Is it possible to still have runners' high, 24 hours later? I think so, because I'm still hangin' out with the euphoria. Spending a morning with a good friend, hitting the trail for a solid run, eating an amazing breakfast (artichoke, asparagus and feta omelette, anyone?), taking a hot bath in a huge tub (thank you, Rebekah) and spending the rest of the day lounging at home. That's a pretty damn perfect day, as far as I'm concerned.

Rebekah and Me, post race.

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