It was a cold and dreary morning for the Cherry Creek Sneak. Again.
Last year, I was pregnant and relatively miserable in my prenatal running. This year found my nearly recovered from my son and close to back to my running self.
That, however, did not make it any warmer or drier for me, Michelle, Trisha, or Christina. We froze and got soaked, but ultimately, had a pretty successful race all around.
My body was completely uninspired to run. On the drive up, I only felt my maternal exhaustion and just wanted to sleep. And not be in the cold rain. Even after the starting gun, when I began to wog through the icy puddles, my muscles revolted. I just felt drained and weak and tired and cold.
The first two miles were unpleasant, and I was not exceptionally happy. I questioned if I felt this depleted already, how would I finish the race? How would I start running 10 miles? I was irritated by the contradiction of being cold in the rain and overheating under my raincoat. I was bored at the straight flat stretches of the course.
Yet after the two mile marker, the pain broke. The rain had relented, and I permitted myself to shed my raincoat to my waist. I also found some measure of a rhythm and was able to focus on a maintainable pace and proper form. Straighten the back, drop the shoulders, tighten the core; keep the sciatica from acting up.
In the third and fourth mile, I was able to glimpse such exquisite floats. I just plodded along, ambivalent to the toil of my muscles. I felt myself able to go faster than my wog and not feel myself burning out; I could feel improvement. In my muscle and sense memory, I had flashbacks of my pre-pregnancy self. I could feel in my body that I am getting close to my former state.
When I do a race of identical course year after year, the running takes on a touch a deja-vu. I experience the present run in tandem to remembering the previous runs. Present and past get slightly muddled in the blur of senses and incoming neural messages. This time, with the familiar awful weather, it was an especially strong sensation. It was like I was running last year’s race all over again, without hefting the baby belly.
At least I knew what to expect.
The last mile snuck up on me, just like last year. My float dissipated, and instead, my wall appeared. I oscillated between wogging down to suspend the nausea and exhaustion and speeding up with to sprint toward the end. Somewhere in the middle, a balance emerged, and I managed to make it. In good time, nonetheless.
I finished in 58:44, which could be considered a normal 5 mile time for me. 55 minutes is my personal record.
In the beginning, I was hating the race and noting to myself how I should drop it from next year’s roster. However, by the conclusion, I was giddy and levitating on my runner’s high, feeling accomplished and nearly normal.
In the end, it was a good race.