Last year at this time I ran the Inspiring Hope 10k, after having trained since January and ran it in 1:01. I was a little disappointed in myself for not having finished in under an hour. I went into that race feeling strong, and had just run another 10k a few weeks previously so I knew what I could do if I had a good day. The time was 5 minutes faster than my previous race, but I still had some gas in the tank afterwards, so I probably could have pushed a little harder.
A few days after that race, I hurt my hip and was out for a couple of months.
Now this year is a completely different story. Since my surgery in March,
I have not run more than a mile and a half without stopping. I’ve only been allowed to run for three weeks, and I have the ankle injury to contend with. Plus I developed a sore back the day before the race.
I kind of figured I’d be doing a lot of walking.
What actually happened was this.
I woke up at 6:30 and got dressed in my running getup, including the compression stocking things that my Physical Therapist suggested I wear to keep my ankle from getting inflamed. Then I drove to the store to get milk and some cash to register for the race.
After driving home, I walked over to the start / finish area, which was in the lunch room of Kamiak High School near my house. I jogged a short portion of the way just to check out the ankle and how it was feeling. It seemed fine so that was encouraging. The back was still a bit sore but not as bad as yesterday, which was also encouraging. Seemed to be the kind of thing that would shake out after running a bit.
I got to the registration area, signed up and handed over my fee. They asked how fast I thought I would go, and since I didn’t really know they suggested I go with the second wave. I decided that was fine.
I checked my jacket and swag bag, milled around the vendor fair, drank some coffee and ran into my friend W. Talked to her for a bit. Bought a new little belt thing to keep my phone in while I run. I even used it during the race.
Before the race there was some sort of guided warm up thing and announcements. We couldn’t hear the announcements so we were chatting and goofing around and some crabby person said, “you’d be able to hear if you stopped talking.”
Sure, but it’s more fun to do my Charlie Brown teacher imitation!
Pretty soon it was 9am and the first wave went. I had to wait until 9:05 for the second wave to start. As soon as it did I realized I was in the wrong wave. I spent a couple minutes running at a fast but comfortable pace and before long had passed almost everyone in the wave.
I spent the rest of the race chasing down an older gray haired gentleman who was first in our wave, and a young couple running together (a brown haired girl in a ponytail and her male companion in a red Seattle Marathon shirt) who ended up being second and third. I ended up fourth but ponytail girl and her boyfriend were behind me for part of the middle section of the race. They caught me when I took a walk break at the water station at mile 2.
The course itself is pretty easy for the 5k. Two small hills, one at the beginning and one at the end, the rest of the race is pretty flat. Most of the course has you running on wide sidewalks, with a couple of forays into the road. The whole thing is paved – no trails.
The course is basically my regular running route, so as a first foray back into racing, it really couldn’t have been much easier.
I had to leave before results came out, because my kids both had baseball games and also they were very eager to get to our town’s “Touch a Truck” display before the games, but I knew my time was somewhere in the range of 31 minutes, because it was 9:36 when I came across, and my wave took off at 9:05.
I had to wait until Sunday to find out my actual time. Final race results said it was 30:48 total time, which brought me in 29th place out of 128 in the 5k, and third in my age group. For a first race back with almost no training, I thought that was a pretty great place to start.