Despite all the…challenges I’ve been having with running lately, I survived a 5 mile race this morning.
Michelle and I drove up to Denver for the Cherry Creek Sneak. Michelle ran the 5K early; then I ran the 5 mile after. The weather was pretty shitty, mostly due to the wind. The temperatures were cool, and the rain was intermediate. The wind was just cruel. Thankfully, with city running, I think the buildings blocked a couple directions on the route.
I started the race without nausea, which was a good enough start. I told myself I would not get all twirled up about pace or fatigue; I told myself I would just gently wog it out. It took some (a lot) of talking myself down, but I think I managed to pull it off.
The first half mile felt almost normal. I jogged along, feeling at home on the road among the runners. Then once the initial excitement wore off, the first two miles were hell. As they are now. My hips ached; my lower back twinged; I felt like I had to pee. That unnerving pain painted a line down from my belly button even with the support belt.
Simply put, my body did not want to do it. I kept thinking, I do not want to do this; I do not want to run; I want to walk. And I felt that in every cell of my body.
But I didn’t. I just kept slowly wogging along, holding myself back and slowing my pace when the heat started to bloom in my belly or the wind seemed lost in my lungs.
I knew if I could just make it panting and slobbering through the first two, it would get better. It almost does.
And somewhere in that third mile, I grasped some semblance of a float. My first in who knows how long. The strife dropped out of it, and it became just mindless wogging. Most of my body’s nagging aches faded away, reduced down just to a mild coil of pain in the sciatic area on my left side.
The course was flat and easy, snaking around the Cherry Creek Mall. When we turned off into a neighborhood, it reminded me of my half marathon. Flat, wet, cloudy, through a neighborhood with trees. Definitely not New Orleans but just a snippet that made me think of that experience.
With the finish line out in the distance, I felt myself running out of steam, but I could see it. I could not muster a sprint, but I did manage to speed up over the line.
I usually finish 5 miles in an hour, my best time being around 55 minutes. Today, I managed to swing 1:05, which I consider a fucking miracle considering how slow I have been and how little I have accomplished lately. As much as I initially hurt (and after), that time felt vindicating. It renewed my inspiration a bit in that I have not fallen as far as I have been fearing.
Yes, I went much slower. Yes, it was a fast, flat, cold course. But I will take it. I have another 5 mile that will not be so kind on Saturday…