28 November 2011

Give the 5K some respect...

Want to know what I learned on Thanksgiving this year? I (re)learned that 5Ks are... HARD. HARD HARD HARD. In the running/triathlon world, I don't think we give enough props to the 5K - the glory always seems to go to the marathon, the half marathon, the long course triathlons. I'll say this - Ironman and marathons may last longer, but the pain is controlled, bearable. A 5K is all the pain of a marathon compressed into 20-ish minutes. You tell me which is worse.

I lined up with 1400 of my closest friends for the annual Derry, NH Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. After tracking my friends doing IM Arizona the previous weekend, I was all jazzed to race. Then race morning arrived, along with the nerves (yes I still get nervous, even for 5Ks, because I know how much they SUUUUCK), and while it would've been nice to just jog the race, I knew that wouldn't happen. I was there to race, not jog, and while I wasn't counting on a PR (I've not exactly been super diligent in my running since the beginning of October and speedwork - what is speedwork??) I wanted to finish that race feeling like I earned that extra piece of pecan pie (pronounced peeee-can, not puh-can).

Mark and I met up with our friends Ashley and Tim for the race and we had grand plans to run together, but that quickly fell apart in the race start chaos. Nobody knew exactly where the start line was located and nobody heard the gun go off, but suddenly people started to run. I was smooshed in a sea of 10 year olds, baby joggers and dogs and middle school x-country runners, darting all over the roadway to try and get around them. It took about a half a mile, and suddenly I had some clear road ahead of me - just in time for the long, steepish hill around mile 1.5. It was there that I needed to pull it together and suffer - the adrenaline from the first mile had disappeared, the legs were feeling heavy, and even though it was chilly out, I felt like I was wearing way too many layers. The gloves came off (literally) and I huffed my way up the hill, passing a few people, but also getting passed by some high school x-country boys who looked like they were out for an easy jog. I caught up with Tim here, and we switched places a few times, and I ran the rest of the race convinced that he was on my shoulder and would bolt ahead of me at the finish line. After we passed the Mile 2 marker, things went downhill (literally - this is a good thing) from there, with a few uphills. We rounded a corner and the volunteers there were saying things like "you're almost there" and "just a little further" and I looked around and totally convinced myself that yes, these buildings look familiar, the finish line is right up ahead. Turns out the mind is very impressionable to suggestions in weak moments such as mile 2.6 of a 5K and I was not just around the corner from the finish. Too late though, I had already kicked and started passing a few more people, and it would've been embarrassing to slow down. Legs were on fire, stomach was churning, and that stupid finish line was NOWHERE to be found. It finally appeared and I threw myself across it - glancing at the clock and instantly hoped that they were scoring the race by chip time and NOT gun time (unfortunately, it was gun time and I was slow slow slow - but fortunately, so was everyone else in my AG and apparently I came in first hahaha).

We topped off the 5K with a fantastic breakfast at my best friend Erin's house with her parents (can I just say that parents are the best - it doesn't matter if we are 5 years old or 30 years old, they still cook us meals and take care of us). My goddaughter provided the entertainment (she is 2) by informing us that she was a "hot mess" (I love how 2 year olds will repeat anything you tell them). Then it was back to my parent's house for a big turkey dinner (I give up vegetarianism from Thanksgiving to Christmas - I don't care if this makes me a fair-weather vegetarian, I love roast turkey too much to forgo it). Friday, Mark and I drove up to Maine to spend some time with my best friend Katie and her husband - we caught an awesome sunset on our drive to dinner, bought our dog a moose antler to gnaw on (this is Maine, after all), and I got to spend some quality time with one of my favorite people. A great mini-vacation all around :)

1 comment:

Katie said...

ouch, the 5k, it hurts!!! congrats on the win!