I signed up for an event that runs every Wednesday night from March to August. There is a 1K ocean swim and a 5k run each week, and you can do one or the other or both. I am still not brave enough to enter the frigid waters of the Pacific (currently around 55 degrees Fahrenheit), so I haven't done the ocean swim, but I have now done 4 weeks worth of 5k runs. Last night was a personal best time.
It's a really easy course, uphill for about 2k and then downhill 3k. It's so nice to have that net downhill (finishing a ways below the starting point), and that makes it easy, in my book. Plus, it's in the early evening with the calm ocean breezes and lots of people out with their dogs and kids making it busy and animated.
The first week, I ran it cold, with no training runs for a good several months prior (can you tell I was suckered in at the last minute?), and was shocked to still finish under 35 minutes. I know, 7 minute kilometers (11:30ish minute miles) is nothing to be impressed by, but I derive my happiness from small accomplishments -- I jogged the whole thing and didn't have to walk, and that counts for something in my little brain. The second week, I cratered (it was either the lack of water all day, or starting out the run too fast, or the poached egg I'd eaten that afternoon -- all of these things are strict no-nos!!!), and took almost 41 minutes to finish the little run. The third week I was back on a bit better track, but still took around 36 minutes to finish.
And then there was last night. I started out slow, forcing myself not to keep up with people around me, not to allow the speed of the group to push me faster than my little legs and heart can handle. At the 1-mile marker, I was surprised how good I really felt, so I sped up. As the downhill started, I really lengthened my stride to allow gravity to just pull me down to the finish. I know that my legs are pretty long for my height, but I don't have them trained for the right length stride for serious speed, yet. But this was a measure of what might be possible, as I careened in for a 32:18 finish. That would be my best 5K yet, and I now see the possibility of breaking the 30-minute mark before the end of the summer.
I know I'm still not fast (the fastest time last night was still twice my speed, and the fastest woman was sub-19 minutes), but I'm still proud of what I did. And now we'll see what happens from here.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
3 months ago