Five days before the race I caught a cold at work. Remembering last winter's killer cold I stayed home on Wednesday (well, after pushing pushing pushing through Tuesday) just to rest up and prevent things from becoming bad. Then I lived normal life - running myself ragged with work and household and YA group and whatever else came my way - both Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning at 3:00 and 4:00 and 5:00 I woke and worried, half-awake, that I wouldn't be able to run the race, and wondered whether I even ought to try.
But of course I tried anyway.
I ran the 5K (about 3 miles) and came in with a time around 37 minutes. I don't know the exact numbers because they don't have the results posted online, but whatever. I did not come in last. Hooray! I think I did come in last in my age group (translation: all the women around my age ran faster than I did). I also am pretty sure that I did NOT beat my 10K pace. But, whatever, I was sick. I am not super-excited about my results but at least I got rid of the burning "I have to do another race" feeling.
This past week, though, I watched the movie "Spirit of the Marathon," a documentary about six people (two pros, four amateurs) running the Chicago marathon. Man, I was wiping away tears at the end, watching them cross the finish line ...
I have very small goals right now. I plan to run once a week through the winter and I hope to improve my 5K time. (I want to feel good about my 5K before going back to the 10K). Looking at this year's Sunburst results, it looks like I could put myself in the top 50% of the women's 5K if I could run it in 32 minutes. It will be hard but I think I can do it. If I work hard at it all winter.
This year, improve my 5K. Then maybe another year and I will run a respectable 10K time. Maybe then a half-marathon. (Or maybe not.) Maybe someday a marathon. (Or maybe not.) As much as I hate running - I really do sometimes - maybe even most of the time - there's really something intoxicating about simply doing something hard. Or maybe it's the measurement that attracts me - I have no concrete way to tell if I am improving at social work or household or friendship or prayer or anything else I strive for - but with running it is there in minutes and seconds for me to see, that I am improving, and that I can improve even more. It feels almost indulgent to carve out a part of my life for it, but I think it's a gift from the Lord - I think he sits back and smiles to see us all running around and using the amazing bodies he gave us.
So anyway, that's the end of the racing season for now. I'll try to post now and then about training during the winter, but as for races - I'll see you there in the spring ...