On Thursday evening I went for a run around the lake path, a route I’ve probably put hundreds of miles on over the years. Some short, some long; it’s still home to my fastest unofficial 5K and once held a race that actually gave me my one and only first over all female win.
However that was years ago and this was not a race. All my runs start with at least a 1/2 mile walk. I know it drags down my overall pace but it’s how I warm up so I don’t care. Much. On this night I passed a woman running that I had never seen there before but let’s be honest I recognize the dogs more than the people. We passed each other going opposite directions during my warm up walk. We later passed each other again once I had started running. Only this time she yelled “hell yeah” and gave me a high five.
At first it made me smile… then I started to wonder. Was it a “hell yeah” in runner solidarity or do I just look so damn new out there? More like a newborn fawn these days than a runner?
I’ve made no secret that I’ve been riding the struggle bus since Big Sur. First my back and hips were causing issues then my left foot has been a jerk for the last month. Motivation has been lagging. Hell, the scale has hit the highest number I’ve ever seen. Oh and random asthma attacks have joined the party.
I don’t really feel like a runner anymore. I feel like a fraud.
Running is hard. Getting out the door is hard. Not giving up is hard.
I think that’s part of why I like the medals so much even if that seems petty. They remind me that I can do harder things. They’re a visual I can hold onto when I’m struggling through a 4 mile run. But then that also frustrates me. Why is it so hard??
I don’t want it all to be easy just a little less huffing and puffing would be nice.
I’m not new. But I am. I’m a runner… even on the days I’m not.
It’s one foot in front of the other, right? And repeat.
10K’s and I have a rough relationship. 4 years ago today, I lined up at the start of my 1st 10k. It was my third race, I had previously run a 5k and a half marathon. Having run a half, I figured how bad could a 10k be? Umm, yeah. I actually had this post planned this week without realizing the date. Timehop can be so helpful sometimes. Or eerily psychic.I am smiling in this picture but this race was rough. I had planned on running it withNikeC but she was so much faster than I was. My training at that point was best described as non-existent. She pulled ahead of me fairly quickly. I don’t remembermuch other than I walked a lot and generally felt exhausted. At one point during an out and back portion, I passedNikeC on her way back and she cheered me on. I probably grimaced. She texted me a few moments later to let me know I wasn’t last. At that time in my racing, I was obsessed with not being last. So I hung on to the finish. I actually finished that race in the time goal that I set for myself -1:12 but was so disappointed. For some reason it made me feel defeated and irritated. I couldn’t understand how I had finished 13.1 miles 2 months previous. I felt fried. I think I took the next 2-3 months off- zero running. Looking back I am not even sure why, but that feeling stayed with me for a long time.
A long time. That first 10K was May of 2011. My next 10K was June 2013. Every time I saw a possible 10k race before that, I thought hell no. I finally decided to try another one, granted getting a comped entry helped. 🙂 So early one June morning, I headed out to Talley Vineyard for attempt #2. I told myself anything around 1:05 would make me happy. Right before the start, my mother dared me to break an hour. The incentive? $50.00. I laughed. I also didn’t anticipate that running in a vineyard was more like trail running and I was not prepared for that. That said, I crossed the finish line in 59:11. Hell yeah!
I ran 3 more 10K’s in 2013- 57:17, 55:57, 56:21. I began to think I liked 10K’s. A little less crazy than a 5K but only half as long as a half marathon. I thought it could be my new favorite distance. I went into 2014 with this mindset. First up was the Heart & Sole’s 10K– 55:40. This still stands as my PR but it was rough. 5 of the 6 miles, I felt like my achilles was going to snap. I even stopped to stretch it out at one point. It hurt. Next up was Bands on the Run– 59:28. The race where I phoned it in. I was mentally not there and it felt rough. I also hadn’t put it together yet that humidity triggered my asthma and with a race on the beach you get lots of humidity. Oops. Then there was the disaster that was the HOB Fun Run 10K– 1:08:03. That September when I finally admitted I had to back off racing because my system just wasn’t tolerating it. Stupid stomach. So out of 7 10K’s run, 4 have been less than stellar experiences. Where am I going with this? This Saturday, I am running Bands on the Run again. I haven’t really raced a 10K since Heart & Soles’ and I don’t think this will be a real race. I have no idea what time to even shoot for. I am hoping to use this as a tune up for next month when I run Talley again. But I don’t want to phone it in either. The course covers pavement, the high school track, a dirt trail, soft pack dune sand and hard pack wet sand. I don’t think I could PR it even if I was in tip-top shape. That damn dune sand takes a lot out of you. 🙂 And that’s ok, I want to enjoy the scenery and the music this year and not feel frustrated with myself. That said, :59 and below would be awesome but we’ll see.
Speaking of the beach, I’ve run 4 races on the beach but this time I have shoe options. So what do you think? My normal shoes, trail shoes or my lighter weight pair of shoes?