I ran a 5K tonight after basically not running for two weeks, and I surprised the hell out of myself.
Before the Holiday Hustle, I promised myself I could run it rather than race it because I’ve been sick and haven’t done any of the speedwork I’d planned to do. But that went out the window when I got on the start line. I’m not the kind of person who can just run a race; I’ve always got to bring the best effort I can bring on the day.
The race was in Dexter, Michigan, the town my family lived until I was 3. The course, wouldn’t you know, went past our old house. And this was my very first holiday run, and I’ve wanted to run one for years.
I felt really good during my easy two-mile warmup, although my toes were frozen and only just thawed before the gun went off.
The course was rolling with a downhill third mile. Something to look forward to! I went out hard and did my best to hang on as we wound around the streets. I marveled at how strong I felt. My lungs were bursting, my shoulders and arms were dead and yet, I was pushing through. It was a lot easier than I remember, and a lot more fun.
The third mile was tough. I was wheezing for most of it–I could really feel my lack of speedwork–but I ran as hard as I could and surprised myself with a 22:36.
That’s a long way off my lifetime best, but not too bad for a freezing cold 5K off the bench. I’ve run more slowly when I would’ve considered myself in better shape. The time was only 20 seconds off a 5K I ran when I was in the best 13.1 shape of my life.
The race showed me how far I’ve come as a runner. I’m tough and strong. Once upon a time, I wasn’t sure about that.
Now I look forward to getting things going again, getting back in racing shape and going for a lifetime 5K PR in the spring as I start my triathlon career. Honestly, I almost can’t believe that. For so long, I just hated the 5K. The marathon still has my heart, but it is fun to run a race that’s over in less than 23 minutes.