Saturday, December 11, 2010

Are We Lost? No. I Think We Are

I got sick in November and stopped running. I figured I'd start back up in January (excuses excuses), but last week I discovered our stake was having a 5K race today. I wanted to do it, but one week didn't give me a whole lot of time to prepare. Last Saturday, after over a month no running, I ran four barefoot miles in fifty one minutes. That is not great, but at least I ran. Monday I walked with Ash for two miles. I was supposed to run, but I was so very sore. Wednesday I ran two miles in twenty nine minutes. Thus, my goal for today was to run my very first barefoot race ever, and my very first running 5K ever, and my very first trail run ever, and my third race ever, in under forty minutes.

By the time we got to the race today I had lowered my expectations slightly to just starting the race. Not even finishing, just starting. I was terrified. I can't really explain why, but I was way out of my comfort zone. There were only ten other runners, mostly male, and all of them older than me. I did not blend it at all. Also, I was the only one without shoes, and that got quite a few comments. Back in July, I wanted so badly to run a 5k and dazzle everyone with my effortless three mile run. I imagined I would soar to the finish line in under half an hour, and not even be out of breath. Alas, not training for your goals tends to make goals dreams instead of reality. My reality was I was about to run a 5k very unprepared, out of shape, and scared.

But the race started and off I went. The course was marked with hidden and undistinguished orange cones. There were lots of turns, forks, and curves, and three minutes into the race the guy in back said the leaders were going the wrong way. Most of us turned around to follow him, but a few of the lead runners got lost. That was not the only confusing turn, and as we got more spread out I really don't now if I took the same turns that the other runners took. I fell behind the lead group, then behind the second group, but I kept going. I mean, really kept going. I ran. I did not stop, and I pushed myself harder than I ever have before.

At the end of the race I like to sprint. I like to put everything I have into the last few hundred yard. I love sprinting to the finish line, adrenaline taking over and run finding strength I didn't know I had. Because the course was so ill marked, I had no idea where the middle of the race, was, much less the end. I came around a corner, expecting to go another half mile, and that was the it: the race was over. I had just crossed the finish line. I didn't sprint because I had no idea I was so close. It was very anticlimactic.

And then I looked at my time: twenty five minutes minutes.

WHAT?! I may have been second to last, but I sure beat my best time by a whole lot. Are you kidding me? The answer: maybe. Because the course was so bad, no one really knew if we actually ran three miles. One runner had the pedometer that said it was closer to two miles, but he was in the middle and no one knew if they took the same route he did.

So, yeah. I ran a race today. I don't know how long it was, or if my time was good, but I started and I finished. And I'm running again. So, hooray.

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