What? More Running?

Today was the Paws 4 Autism 5k (and Autism Egg Hunt) out at Unity Village.  One of my friends from volleyball is very engaged in Paws 4 Autism so it seemed like a good opportunity for me to get some more practice in before September’s “official” run and help a great cause (you might recall that my 15 year-old, Caleb, has autism).

Like prior runs, this one had positives and negatives.  Let me start with the punchline: 34:42.  Horrible – 5 minutes longer than I would have been ok with.  To be fair to myself I was dehyrdated and starving (I went to bed at 3pm yesterday and didn’t get up until 8am this morning, and the last food/water I had was around 1), but even so I would not have expected to run over maybe 31 minutes.  I’m hoping the week I had (first week of sand volleyball; body is calling out muscles that I didn’t existed and certainly haven’t been used since October) contributed to the poor performance

It was an odd field.  The top 4 finished in about 24 minutes (anywhere from 21:54 to 24:12), and then there was almost a 9 1/2 minute gap before the next person crossed the finish line (33:36).

On the positive side, I didn’t walk – not even once.  Three times after an uphill run I jogged slower than I otherwise would have (still faster than a walk), but for the most part I kept a pace that I thought was going to keep me under the half-hour mark.  My body hated me for it – after a quarter of a mile my lungs were begging me to stop and walk, but that’s normal for me and I just kept on, telling myself I wasn’t going to walk, period.

It helped that for about 80% of the race I had someone running about the same to pace with – we were always within about 15 feet of each other (sometimes I would end up ahead of her, sometimes she was ahead of me).  That really does help – when your body is screaming “give up” and your mind is starting to rationalize why that would be OK, having someone ahead of you or close enough behind you to hear that you can use as external strength really does help…even if you don’t know who they are.

I also finished STRONG.  I let these long legs God gave me absolutely tear it up for the last tenth of a mile or so.  That meant I still had quite a bit left in the tank, so maybe I should have picked up my pace a little on the course instead of just finishing at an all-out sprint.

I came in in the top 40% – 10th out of 25 runners, including 4th in my gender (out of 10) and first in my age group (40-49) which continues my goal of finishing in the top half of the pack in all areas.

I think I’m going to have to break down and get a training plan from one of the many friends I know who run.  I assumed that the best way to get your time down was to run a 5k over and over and over, gradually increasing your pace and speed, but I guess not.  And since not being able to finish with my friends in September’s race isn’t an option I’m going to have to step it up big-time.

I was running a 5k-equivalent at least twice a week.  My cardio feels tremendously better, and I also have my 5+ hours of volleyball per week as far as leagues go (9 this week with the subbing I did) plus the walking the kids and I do up to get dinner at least once a week.  You can tell by some of my prior neighborhood runs over the last couple of weeks (here and here) that I’m getting better; I just hope this isn’t a step backwards that will take me a long time to recover from.

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What do you think?