The wind in my hair, the soft patter of my little feet, the adrenaline moving through my bloodstream, the slow in and out of my breathâ€”Iâ€™m running. But, friends, Iâ€™m not a runner. Not only do I have a foot injury that never healed from college, in general itâ€™s a bit too rough on my joints. Even though I donâ€™t think running will ever be MY thing, I signed up for a 5K to support my roomie, Jodi, who recently ran two races this year (5K and half marathon).
About a month after we signed up, Jodi injured her knee, which left her depressed and incapable of partaking in this particular event. I mean, I signed up to run with her (not next to her or anything), but as a fun moment to share together. Having an injury is devastating and especially when running is your lifeblood, which it is for her, this was bad news bears.
Now that I was running the race solo, I really didnâ€™t have the drive to train intensely or even talk about it with her (to not aid in her depression). I did a couple runs a week and decided on the goal of finishing in 31 minutesâ€”I thought that would be a good target since I normally run about a 10-minute mile. I figured I could speed it up here and there if I used a watch to monitor my pace.
Race day approached quickly and I was feeling a little out of running shapeâ€”I had been running about 6-12 miles a week (and only about 4 during my last week). My college buddy, Christin, came down from Newport Beach and used Jodiâ€™s ticket, so I had a partner in crime, which left Jodi in charge of the photos (I got a really great photo of part of her leg during her half marathon, so it was her turn to be the photographer and try and do better than me, which wouldnâ€™t be hard to accomplish). ;-)
I made two huge mistakes the day before: drinking alcohol and not getting a good nightâ€™s rest. I think I had about three or four hours of snoozing when the alarm went off on Sunday morning at 5am. I pulled myself together with some coffee and wheat toast with peanut butter, and Jodi took us to the start line of the race: Balboa Park. At least I started off the morning right with a light snack and some caffeine. YAY! I was ready to rock and roll.
I had one minor glitch: I was without an iPod. A couple months back, I left it in NYC, so Iâ€™ve gotten pretty used to the sound of my own breath and really taking the quite time to think and reflect (or focusing on not dying mid-run). I guess I could have gone out to purchase a new one, but that would be the easy route, right? I was also planning on borrowing a watch from Jodi to monitor my stride, but I forgot to do that, so it was just me, myself and I (and the annoying sound of people breathing and dragging their feet along the pavement).
During the race, I figured I was running about a 10-minute mile, but I had NO CLUE because I had no way of knowing. It was a pretty nice run with no hills and no major obstacles, but I was definitely feeling tired around mile two. I knew it was just one more mile and some changeâ€”I could do this. As I rounded the corner to the finish line, I heard Jodi cheering for me and took off sprinting. Success! I made it!
My final time was just under 28 minutes, which is my quickest pace yet (thatâ€™s under 9-minute miles). However ill prepared I was, I pulled through for Jodi, my motivation for this 5K. The feeling of coming through the finish line was amazing! I accomplished something and it felt great. I just might do another 5K after all.