I did my first 10K (distance and race) since having my son. And I did not walk.
The Pumpkin Pie 10K was, in a word, freezing. A winter storm descended on the race. The temperatures were in the teens, and it was windy and snowing.
I love winter running. I love to run in the cold and snow. Ice, however, is less fun. It is treacherous. And the route was extremely icy. Both Michelle and I fell but thankfully were not injured. Michelle screamed like an alarm each time she slipped (many times), which nearly gave me a heart attack.
I went into the race not knowing my strategy. I had registered while I was still pregnant, thinking surely I would be back to 10Ks by this time. However, instead, I was still struggling to consistently run a 5K distance. So my only plan was to stick with Michelle.
Michelle, like so many normal runners, does intervals of running and walking. I, personally, have always hated intervals. They rob me of my float and are too jarring on my muscles to convince them to keep running. At first, I decided to just interval with her, giving myself the best chance of completing the distance.
However, after two steps of walking at the first interval, I could not do it. My muscles protested. Instead, I adapted by jogging with her when she ran and wogging beside her as she walked. The walking wog was difficult to maintain, but I think taking my pace down so slow is the only thing that allowed me to complete the full distance without walking.
10K has always been my favorite distance. By the end, when I had reached half marathons, I hated the 5K distance. My body remembered this. Even its pathetic state and at an unfamiliar pace, I felt the muscle memory of it, the comfort with the distance. I was able to reclaim some of the enjoyment in running.
Even though it was frigid and slick, I was able to appreciate the cold weather. Once we were moving, I started to cook and shed layers, of course. When we weren’t running into the wind, the falling snow was quite beautiful.
The miles slipped past us faster than I expected. I told myself to just keep going as long as I could. The farther we went, the more I told myself I could make the full distance. Doubt flickered in my brain, but I just breathed and kept slowly running. I was surprised to see that I could do; I could keep wogging mile after mile like I used to.
I floated a bit through the race. I enjoyed it; I had fun running with Michelle; I was proud of myself for not stopping.
It was the run I needed to motivate myself. With how hard the 5K distance has been on me, I was feeling extremely discouraged, like I would never feel like my old running self again. This gave me enough of a nostalgic glimpse that I feel like I might be moving in the right direction, that killing myself might eventually pay off.