Monday, July 04, 2011

You better run

I've been exercising but not running. I figure that it's easier on my knees. Plus, I can get in an hour's workout, which I'd pretty much guarantee wouldn't be happening three or four times a week if I was running.

Anyway, I've been feeling the itch to run in today's 5K road race. It's sort of a tradition for me, even if I haven't run in it since 2007. (I'd wager this is the best shape I've been in since then.) I wasn't sure that I could run the whole thing, but participating in this race was something I targeted when I resumed an exercise regimen this year.

So I dragged myself out of bed before 6:30, turned in my registration, and got way too wound up waiting for the race to start. The first mile went relatively well. I overheard someone else that they were on about an 11:30 mile pace, which seemed decent for me. The second mile felt like it took forever to arrive, especially because the course was on a long, very gradual incline. Was it steep? Not at all, but when you're trying to grind it out, a molehill can feel like a mountain.

My legs felt pretty good overall. All that work on a recumbent bicycle clearly made my upper legs stronger, which helped a great deal. My lung capacity seemed good too. Nevertheless, around 2.2 miles, I'm guessing, my lumbering shuffle just sort of came to a stop and settled more into a walk. I was getting tired, and apparently my body said, "Let's try this instead." Honestly, once I settled into a longer stride with the fast walk, I may have been covering more ground faster than when I was "running".

I turned it back up for the last turn and two-tenths of the race and ran in, but boy was my body screaming at me to get across that finish line and then get a rest and something to eat. I was gassed. While it wasn't especially hot at 8:00 a.m., it was humid. I was drenched and a little wobbly.

I crossed the finish line with 39:24 on the clock, but my time was faster than that because I didn't cross the starting point at zero. Unfortunately I can only guess at my time as the strip underneath my shoelaces was ripped from its loop during the run and apparently didn't trigger when I ended the race. I'm nowhere to be found in the results. Since I have a general idea of the age of the people I finished around, I can peg my finish at around 38:00. If I want to give myself a little more credit, twice I stopped to tie my left shoe. (Now I know the lace snagged on the safety pin keeping the timer strip in a loop on the other shoe and ripped it out.)

So, on the generous side, perhaps I did the 5K course in 37:00-37:30. It's by no means fast, but I'm satisfied with that time. I had no idea what to expect. With a little more energy and no walking, perhaps I cut a few more minutes off that time. All things considered, I think I did pretty well. Before today my longest run of the year was just over a mile.

Now to keep up the work and maybe run another race or two before the year's out.

Happy 4th of July!

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