Today I ran the Orewa Beach 5K.
I ran the same race last year with my sister, after completing the Couch to 5K Programme earlier in the year. I then proceeded to fall and break my ankle the very next day. That was followed by 6 weeks in a moonboot, 8 weeks of intensive physiotherapy, and a total of 4 months of NO RUNNING. There was a time when I thought I would never be able to run again, but I can honestly say that my ankle is completely back to normal. No niggles, no pain, no stiffness. I’m very grateful that I am able to run again, because I love it!
To be honest, I didn’t train properly for today’s race. As I said, I do love running, but it has been really hard to schedule in 3 or 4 runs per week, which is what is needed for proper training. So I settled for a ~4K run, once a week. Twice if I was really lucky. Not good, but better than nothing.
My last training run on Thursday evening was pretty good. I ran 5K in 41 minutes, which was one of my best times this year (I am a S-L-O-W runner). I felt good, and I was pretty sure I could get a sub-40 time on race day.
Unfortunately I did a few really stupid things yesterday, like reading about ultra marathon runners and googling things like, “fastest ever 5K times”. Let me assure you, that was NOT helpful!! Did you know the world record for a 5K is 12-point-something minutes? Anyway, by the end of the day, I had snapped out of it and pinned a few inspirational/motivations quotes to help me focus on the important things …
I woke up this morning and the weather was PERFECT. The forecast had been for a really hot, sunny day (21C/70F). I don’t really like running in the heat, as I usually run in the evenings when it is much cooler, so I was hoping the forecast was wrong. It was. The sky was overcast, and there was a really decent sea breeze. Perfect running conditions (for me).
My favourite running playlist was ready — including the ultimate race song, “Eye of the Tiger” — and after waiting in line for 15 minutes to use the portaloos, I was good to go.
I ran slowly, pacing myself. Just like my training runs. Last year I ended up walking for some of the time, but today I ran the whole thing. I didn’t stop once. I was hoping for a good time, but realised when I got to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (my second-to-last song on my 40-min playlist) that I wasn’t going to achieve my sub-40 goal. And I was right. My time was 44 minutes, which was 1 minute slower than last year’s time, and a good 3 minutes slower than my last training run. To be honest, I was gutted. But then I started to put things in perspective.
1. Less than 18 months ago I could not even run to the end of my road without gasping for breath. Now I can run for 50 minutes without stopping (maybe more, I haven’t tried it yet). I have worked hard to get from that place to this place.
2. I ran the whole 5K race without stopping, which was one of my goals.
3. It doesn’t matter how fast I am, because I’m not competing against anybody else.
4. Only a few months ago, I was still recovering from a serious injury that could have easily spelled the end of my running days. I did what my physiotherapist told me, and I was sensible about increasing my running again. All that work has paid off.
5. I did my very BEST!
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that racing is really my ‘thing’. I don’t particularly like people watching me, and I find that having other (faster) runners around me just messes with my head. This 5K course is an out-and-back (Orewa Beach is 2.5km long), which means I had to watch everybody who was ahead of me PASS me as they were coming back the other way. Some people might find that motivating, but not me! I almost wanted to run with my eyes closed, but I wasn’t keen on breaking another ankle. I just tried to focus on my music, and enjoy myself. Which I did!
I definitely want to do it again next year. I like I having a goal to work towards. The kids are keen to run next year as well, and I’m trying to convince Rob to enter the 10.5K. When he goes for a run, he usually runs 5km in about 25 minutes. He took Buddy for a run this afternoon and ran 2.5km in 9 minutes 40 seconds. Imagine what he could do if he actually trained?! But as for ME, I’d like to improve MY time. And I know I can do it!
“You don’t run against a bloody stop watch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that’s in him. Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys. That’s the way to be great, running against yourself.”
– Bill Persons
I don’t know who Bill Persons is, but I think he is a wise person.
I’m also grateful to my amazing friend Hayley, who is a total inspiration to me. She has lost 60kg since February last year, and now runs ~100km per week. She is planning to run 100km (in one go!) on her birthday in October. This afternoon she posted this on Facebook:
“This quote goes out especially to my girls Hannah Blair and xxxxxxx xxxx, who amaze, delight and inspire me with their running efforts. You are both awesome!”
“The beauty and popularity of running lie partly in the ability of every runner, no matter how fast or how slow, to emerge a champion. Not all runners stand on top of the podium, but they can stand on top of the world when they achieve a hard-fought victory against their previous limits.”
– Adam Goucher & Tim Catalano
(from the book “Running the Edge”)
Rob took a few photos while I was running. They’re not particularly flattering, but hey. No reason not to post them on the internet for the whole world to see, right?! Actually, I am not posting the worst ones!!
Getting ready to start the race …
Leah left me behind (her final time was 42 minutes) …
Tyler came and ran with me for a bit at the start …
And then ran with me again at the end …
I just HAVE to end with one of my favourite running pics EVER (this is totally true for me) …