When I extended from a 3 mile run to a 5, I knew I was done. The 5 has always been my favorite. Long enough to really feel the rhythm and find a float, short enough to not dedicate a chunk of day or be limping the next day.
Ever since that switch, 5Ks are the harder distance for me. I am striving the whole time and dry heaving at the end. They just never got easier. I could hear the 10K calling to me.
My first 10K was The Great Pumpkin Run at Venetucci Farms. Trisha and Christina joined me. For me, it was the perfect run.
The morning started brisk, in the 30s–my favorite running temperature. The early sun was painting Cheyenne Mountain in the distance. It felt like fall for the first time, and I was drunk on the sensation.
The run started by weaving through the pumpkin patch. The hardcore Colorado runners rapidly left me in their dust as I committed to my zombie turtle pace. Christina hung back with me to avoid burning herself out at her own pace.
The route rounded through the patch into a trail through the trees. There was no street or established path; the route for this run was beaten down just for the event. We were just running through farmlands, and somehow that was appealing to me on this autumn day.
The route was relatively flat, undulating with the brief incline and decline of trail running. After the first mile or two of striving and reminding myself not to care about where the other runners were, I feel into an intoxicating float.
We crossed into the Pinello Ranch and traced the farm roads before edging the lake for the halfway turn around. I lost Christina shortly before halfway; my float was too compelling.
Alone, I found myself euphoric. I was running without effort; I was diving into the fall farm scene. I heard myself laughing (and thinking, what the fuck?) as I crested moguls back in the trees. It felt like I was skiing.
I continued on through mile 4 and 5, gradually noticing my muscles starting to protest. I knew it was getting close; I was starting to recognize surroundings of the start. When I hit mile 6, the final stretch lay straight out the field ahead of me. I unleashed whatever meager sprint I had left in me.
I had set the goal to finish in 1:15. I crossed the line in 1:09.
Panting, I walked back and crossed the finish with Christina then Trisha.
If Christina were to write this post, it would paint quite the alternative picture. When I caught up to her, she was livid, layers and camelbak dangling haphazardly, practically in tears. She had experienced her first “shit run.” My camelbak she borrowed drove her insane; she fell on a mogul; she got lost; her shorts fell off.
Driving to lunch, as she recounted her run of woe, I asked her if perhaps a kid also passed her and kicked her in the shin. We laughed too hard at her shorts falling off as icing on the cake. Levity broke her out of her well-earned frustration.
The three of us sealed our race with Jose Muldoons. Sitting at the table, still vibrating with my runner’s high, with a belly full of margarita and queso, I had a moment of pure, unadulterated bliss.
This is why I do this.