Today’s 5k in the local country vineyards was a confidence-builder and a learning experience.  It truly was a taste of the hair of the dog that bit me – in this case, the New Jersey Marathon.
After 11 non-running days due to a strained hip muscle and other assorted shit, I haven’t felt too secure in my running improvements that I’ve made this year.  Dropping out of the marathon had a much bigger effect on me than I realized.  I came to grips with the DNF fairly easily, but the residual drain on my confidence was severe.  My fitness level suffered, but my head was what really took a beating.
The doctor cleared me to run this 5k today, but he suggested that I not race it.  To be clear, the difference between running and racing to me is giving 80-90 percent or giving all.  Running means allowing a woman who looks my age to pass me without changing my pace.  Racing means “no fucking way is that chick going to bump me out of a medal.”
At the gun, I took off like a bat out of hell, and my friend told me we were doing 6:54 at the quarter-mile mark.  That was too fast for me, and my breathing issues came up immediately.  I knew it was too fast, but my body felt good, despite the awful wheezing noises that escaped my lips.  I did slow down a little bit though, with Coach’s voice in my head, warning me about aggravating my hip problem. 
I guess I got a little disoriented in the second mile, and I thought we were rounding a corner to the finish line.  I told myself I had an excellent race and I could make it.  When I saw the marker for Mile 2, I was having dry heaves and had to stop and walk. 
I figured it was over at that point – that my time would slip from something respectable to another sad finish.  After 60 seconds of telling myself I just needed to calm down and breathe, I took it back up to a decent run and finished with a 25:35. 
I’m happy with that. 
I’m pretty sure I came in 7th in my age group, despite walking for a full minute.  Not too shabby.
What I learned from this one:

  1. Don’t go out too fast!  Three miles isn’t a marathon, but pacing is essential.
  2. Relax.  I think at least some of my breathing issues stem from stress, not physical causes.  And just because I sound like I’m dying, it doesn’t mean I am.
  3. Listen to my body.  Slowing down doesn’t mean I’ve given up.
  4. Always – always – do my best.

1 Comment on “Hair of the Dog

  1. You ran a terrific race for not running for so long and having a hip issue! I'd like to think the post race fun had some positive and healing qualities. You're an amazing person. Never sell yourself short on that or as a runner!

    Like

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