Surprise! I ran a race yesterday. Actually, it was sort of a surprise to me as well.
We just got back on Saturday night from a week at the Jersey Shore (Beach Haven). I ran three times when I was there, and I was thinking I might want to try and find a race this weekend.
I really wanted to do the Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark 4-miler on Saturday night, but we were still on our way back when that one started. So I looked at my good ol' Running in the USA site, and found out that there was a race in Fairview Park on the 17th: The Fairview Youth Association Run for Fun 5K.
I have been extremely lucky, by the way, that the baby has been sleeping through the night. It just makes things like working out and, oh, I don't know, staying awake long enough to eat cereal, that much more bearable. So she got up at 6:40 and after I tended to her, I got ready to go. I got to Bohlken Park, where the race was held, at around 7:50 (start time of 8:30). Registration was painless, got my bib and was good to go! No chip timing for this race. You know what that means! It's so small that I just may come in dead last!!!!
After a little speech welcoming us and thanking us for running the (2nd!!!) annual race, we were off. I thought of NYRR's Mary Wittenberg, and how she needed to use a microphone for all the runners to hear her announcments and speeches before races in Central Park. This was so different, but cool!
I started off a bit faster than I thought I could handle, but was still getting passed left and right. Whatever! Oh, I should also mention that it was hot as balls and even though I was probably in better shape than when I did my last race in April, the heat was stifling so I had very few expectations for this race as far as time was concerned.
The first mile passed by really quickly. I was relieved, because I was sort of having a hard time already. There were no volunteers calling out the elapsed time, and I'd forgotten my watch, so I really had no clue what we were looking at here in terms of my speed. However, a volunteer standing about a tenth of a mile past the first mile marker shouted out, "You're not last!" as I ran by. Gee, thanks. Do you think that really makes me feel confident? How about "Looking good!" or something!!!?!?!
The second mile did not pass by as quickly, but at least I had the water stop to look forward to halfway between these miles. I took two cups, and poured one down my back (I learned the hard way a few years ago not to pour it on the top of your head or on your face unless you want to become temporarily blinded by your sweat stinging your eyes!!!).
Now here's where I began to pass some people. My motto, if you can call it that, is "I won't get passed again" (which of course always makes that Who song get stuck in my head for a chunk of a race when I think about it). In other words, if I pass you, I'm going to make it my mini-goal for the rest of the race not to get passed back. This doesn't always work, but if I can get a good enough lead, it sometimes does. I even psych people out on occasion by surging forward long enough for me to lose them (or better yet, to turn a corner or something) making it mentally harder on them to catch up because I "have so much energy." (Yeah right! It's all an act, and the whole time I do this I'm praying that you don't take the bait and run faster to catch up.) Well anyway, yesterday I passed three people (four, if you count this one guy who was running with his daughter), and I didn't get passed by them again! I consider that small feat an accomplishment, especially considering I could feel the heat emanating from my body. Note to self: SLEEVELESS SHIRTS FOR SUMMER RACES. Duh! I'd put on my black (of all colors) River Run technical tee from 2009.
Anyway. The end of a race is always like running through a fog for me. But at least it propels me forward. People clapping from their front stoops, watering their lawns. A nice guy who set out a cooler and fashioned an unofficial water stop in the third mile. And the volunteers who kept shouting, "Less than half a mile to go!"
I reached the entrance to the park (which I kind of assumed was mile 3) at 35:50 -- this is what the guy with the watch told me. Then I just had a little ways to go. I had to rip off the bottom of my bib in order for them to get my time, which, based on the time I entered the park as well as my fuzzy memory of the clock, was 36:xx. Not bad for a scorcher and only my second race since getting back down to business.
So here are some goals for racing:
-Train and run for River Run half marathon on September 11 (already registered). I'm sort of stuck at this 3-3.5 mile zone for my runs, and I'm looking forward to getting some long runs in again!!!
-Slowly bring my 5K time back down to the low 30s by the fall/winter...and then hopefully back to 28:xx by the time I consider myself really "in shape" ;)
-Much more important than both of these: LEARN TO ENJOY RUNNING AGAIN. It's been so long since I've done it with any consistency that I'm feeling kind of down about it. I've been going out more, and doing it, but it's taking awhile not to feel slow and sluggish and just...tired!!
In other news....
-We moved from Tremont to Lakewood! That's partially why I haven't blogged in awhile. No internet for about two weeks, then we went on vacation. So that's that. So far, I am loving the new apartment and the new neighborhood.
Oh, and speaking of Tremont -- went to the Taste of Tremont yesterday, for the first time as a non-resident ... um, not sure I'll ever do that again! Parking was a nightmare. And it was so hot. Ugh, I guess I'm just getting old! But I sure did take advantage of burning some extra calories to indulge in some of the treats there.