My latest 5k time, from Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, I can't prove it because I showed up as "NO NAME" in the results for some reason, which has me kind of annoyed (and scratching my head, because I was standing behind the woman from Anderson Race Management, watching eagerly over her shoulder, at the moment when she entered my race number into the laptop, and I saw my name, age, and 27:15 on the screen).
I also, of course, saw the Big Red Clock as I approached it and crossed the finish line.
I suppose these things just happen.
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I've run five 5ks now. The following is for my personal archive:
- May 2, 2009: 28:24
- June 13, 2009 28:27
- August 7, 2010 27:27
- June 11, 2011 27:30
- September 8, 2012 27:15
"Time to shoot for the 26's!" says Mark. I suppose it's possible...
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Trail running feels very different from flat road running. There is the constant fear of stepping in a hole and turning an ankle. There are the hills up and the hills down, the choice between the grassy margin and the sandy middle. There is less room to jostle for position.
Saturday's run was mentally difficult because I didn't have a way of pacing myself. I had forgotten my stopwatch, and there were no mile markers; I'd never run the trail before, had no means of measuring how far I'd gone, and quickly became disoriented as the trail meandered through the park, crossed bridges over leafy ponds and looped through the woods. After a while I wondered how long I'd been out, and couldn't tell if it had been ten minutes or twenty.
I felt pretty bad, huffing and puffing, and -- as usual -- wanting to stop. I figured I must be going pretty slowly, because I felt awful. But what do you know, when I rounded a corner and there was The Clock right there -- 27:04, 27:05, 27:06 -- I realized immediately that I had the causality all wrong, and I felt awful because I had been going pretty fast. I picked up the pace for ten seconds (evilly, everything after you could see The Clock was up a steep grassy hill) and pounded across the finish line.
And then someone put a water bottle in my hand and I wobbled over to the grassy spot by the EMTs, because I thought I might keel over, and if I did that I wanted to do it right in front of the people who were supposed to take care of me if I did.
But I didn't keel over, and after a little while I could breathe normally again, so I wandered back to the refreshments where I discovered that the race sponsors had provided, among the expected bananas and granola bars, packets of wasabi peas. Joy.
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The race was a fairly small one -- 176 runners competed -- to benefit a lupus charity. I had signed up for it because it sounded like a pleasant race on a day when I had time to run one, but it was pretty clear that the majority of folks there had a personal connection to the cause; there was a higher-than-usual proportion of runners and walkers with tee shirts that said things like "Team Jessica" and "We're Running for Brenda" and the like. While I drank my water and munched my wasabi peas, I listened to some of the post-race program.
A couple of patients living with lupus got up to thank people who had come out to support them that day. As I listened to their stories, sitting there exhausted on the grass, I thought how it gives some perspective: here I am all tired out by choice from my run, listening to people who battle chronic fatigue every day. I'm glad I showed up, and I'm thankful.