To say the 5k I ran on Sunday did not go as planned would be a bit of an understatement. It’s a small race that I run every year because it benefits an organization I really believe in–Komera; they work to empower young girls in Rwanda through education and through running. Usually it is a family affair; my sister is very involved with the non-profit and often helps with the race setup, and my husband and I usually raise money and run.
This year, my sister was out of town and could not attend. Even more of a bummer, my hubs felt sick the morning of and his stomach wouldn’t even allow him to make it to the starting line. I was on my own, and, I was late. My plan was to take a leisurely jog to the park- a nice 5k warm up to get my legs loose before the race. I really wanted to run under 9 minute miles and I figured I had a much better shot if I was already in a groove. This plan would have been more effective if I had managed to leave the house on time–there was very little leisure happening on my way to the park. I arrived at the check-in table 5 minutes before the race started, out of breath and annoyed with myself. It was 9am and already in the mid 80’s so I heard a lot of runners complaining about the heat. I was soaked to the bone after trucking it through the streets to join them.
I won’t delve too far into all the details of the race; after all, it was a 5k, it was over and done with relatively quickly. To be honest, I am not sure if I accomplished my goal or not. I was sort of out of it and I neglected to start my GPS on my phone to track my time. We began the race about a 1/4 mile away from the finish line, so I am not sure exactly when the time clock was started, and unfortunately, there was no timed bumper at the start. I was well warmed up and felt I kept a pretty consistent pace. After the first mile, a woman whom I was running next to the entire time shouted to her husband, “8:30”, so I had an idea where I was at. While mile 2 may have been a bit more sluggish thanks to the infamous hill of Prospect Park, I knew I stayed strong and also upped my pace in mile 3. When I crossed the finish line, my time read 27:45. Who knows, maybe I did slow down more than I thought, but something tells me the time might have been a little off.
As soon as I left my apartment for the race I kind of just wanted the whole morning to be over; nothing had gone as planned. I kept thinking, “ah whatever, this is a throwaway.” After I crossed the finish line I grabbed a bottle of water, asked another runner to snap a quick pic of me, and immediately made my way out of the park. They were doing a big group stretch led by some physical therapy sponsor but I had already maxed out my joiner gene for the day. I set out on the mile and a half walk to Whole Foods to grab groceries for the week; the quiet slowdown allowed me to reflect on the fast paced Sunday morning I had just had. That’s what I really want to share with you. I may have not picked up a PR at this 5k, but I did walk away with a few valuable thoughts:
- I need to change my cheat day. My cheat day has been Saturday for years, but I finally got it through my thick skull after this race that that might need to change. I may or may not have had a donut AND a slice of banana cream pie for dessert the night before the race. I also ate some cheese. Dairy is a cheat food, I just don’t digest it well at all and it causes a lot of inflammation in my body. I’m never going to eliminate cheat days altogether, life is too fucking short for that shit. Still, as marathon training approaches (3 weeks to go!) I think I need to rethink my strategy. My long runs will remain on Sunday and I need to be able to wake up and feel bouncy and energetic. I love cheese and sugar but I might as well be running through quicksand after I eat them; they make for a serious trudge. I’m thinking Sundays might be the best alternative for my day to indulge; not only will I get to reward myself a bit after my long run, but the next day being Monday puts me right back on track and eliminates the temptation to extend my food shenanigans.
- I want to drop a few pounds. It’s pretty cool to be able to write/say this out loud. When you have a long history with eating disorders, there is a lot of language you tend to stay away from and patterns you work really hard to break. It feels great to be able to say I’m gonna work to drop a few lbs. and not be afraid I’m gonna starve myself to do it. I haven’t owned a scale in 9 years and I doubt I will ever buy one. I’m only aware of how much I weigh when I go to the doctor every year. I weigh by feel, and I know right now after pretty much 3 weeks of travel/holiday, I’m carrying a little more jiggle than I care to. At this moment, it’s less about how I look and very much more about performance; I feel heavy when I run and when I am trying to do push-ups and pull-ups at the gym in the morning. I’m getting back into my normal clean eating and the sugar beast that I’ve grown inside me is roaring like a mother–it wants to be fed! I’ve had headaches the past couple days but I have a feeling the worst is over–by Friday I should be back to craving greens in the morning instead of croissant. Struggling in that race was so helpful because it woke me up; I know I am not going to be able to eat perfectly during training but I know things have to be tighter. A donut is fine once a week. A donut AND banana cream pie. NO.
- Inspiration will come from everywhere, and it’s already started. As we were lining up to start the race, a dad who was there with his two girls started chatting me up; he recognized my tank top, it was from another race he had run as well. After exchanging a few more bits about each other I learned that he had run the NYC marathon in 2014. I told him that I was running this year– he looked at me, smiled, and said, “Journal or document the process, you’ll never want to forget any bit of it–it’s going to change you like nothing you can imagine, just wait.” All I could manage was “I will, I have heard that,” before our race captain had us on our marks. My chat with this guy was so brief, but it stuck with me; I laughed at the idea that the morning could have been a throwaway. He gave me so much hope. He, and all of you out there blogging about running, have filled me with so much excitement about the journey I am about to embark upon. I know it won’t be easy; I’m not sure anything really worth doing ever is. I was going to end by saying “I can’t wait.” But the truth is, I can. I have 3 more weeks till training starts, and 4 more weeks till I have to go back to work. I have a lot I want to experience, accomplish, and enjoy in this time and there’s no way I am looking ahead and rushing through it. #onedayatatime