I Did It! Inspiring Hope 5k Recap

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.

Goals With Plans

One of the things I like about running is that it gives me a chance to exercise my muscles in goal setting and planning, things that I feel I don’t do very much of as a stay at home mom type person. I do plan to clean, do laundry, etc., with the goal (possibly unachievable with two little boys in the house) of having a clean or at least presentable home – the accomplishment of which feels less like I’ve accomplished something awesome and more like all I did was keep filth and chaos at bay.

Suffice to say, it’s not the most motivating thing to just be treading water all the time. The mess and I are in a constant competition to see who will win. Usually it is the mess. I would feel worse about this but it is 4 on 1 including the cat, who as the only one that poops in a box and coughs up hair balls on the regular, makes the most disgusting messes of all.

The odds are always against me.

But running is an area of life where I can actually feel like I am somewhat in control of things. I can see and feel myself making progress. When I am not injured or having surgery, that is.

Now that my surgery and recovery are mostly behind me, I am in a goal setting phase with running again. So, what’s next? What do I want to focus on?

Well, between the ankle injury and fitness lost from recovery, I am not sure when I will feel ready to start training for longer distances. Stamina is basically gone. I think it will come back, but I also don’t want to place a lot of repetitive stress on a healing ankle. So I think I will focus on getting back to doing 5k and 10k races and work on getting faster at those distances.

I’d like to think I’ve learned something from the injuries I’ve dealt with since I started back to running over the last year, and I would say the big takeaway is that the experts are right – you cannot work on speed and distance at the same time. And since I apparently have to choose, I guess I’d rather run fast than far. I’d like to do both but it seems I have to choose one thing at a time.

My next race will be the Inspiring Hope 5k on May 10, which I will be running and walking. Gotta start somewhere I guess.

There doesn’t seem to be much that looks interesting enough to plan for until July. Starting in July I’d like to do:

Mill Creek Run of the Mill 5k – July 12
Run-a-Muk 10k – August 23
Snohomish River Run 10k – October 26

Other things might crop up, but these are the races I will plan to do. After October I will decide if I want to try moving up to the half distance or stick with 10k’s for a while longer.