A Step Toward A Better Me

Last week I posted a blog about my participation in the MMC Riverboat Days 5K. Since I posted a before, I thought I should also post an “after.”

I was up by 6:30 a.m., not a normal time for me. (Of course, running isn’t normal for me anymore, either, so it fit right in.) I didn’t have to be up that early, but volunteered to shoot the start of the walk at 7:15 to allow coworker Jeremy Hoeck a couple more seconds of shuteye.

As happens in Yankton on a steamy morning, the fog was thick as the walk started. Shortly after the walk began, Jeremy relieved me of the camera so that I could warm up.

Since I didn’t want to completely burn up my energy before the start of the race, I walked the first half of my warmup at a brisk pace, following the race path from the start line at Third and Capitol to the corner of Fourth and Walnut, about four blocks. While following the race path meant no traffic — it was blocked off and the walkers weren’t back yet — I did get a couple people ask if I was a walker … on the way out. (The race started 15-20 minutes earlier.)

As it drew closer to race time, I started seeing a few more familiar faces, and a few people who had seen my blog (as it also ran as a column in Saturday’s P&D).

My race strategy was simple. As I am still not to a level when I can run the full 3.1 miles, I had it divided into time segments. I would run for 6 minutes, walk for a minute and repeat. The first six minutes of running went by smoothly.

In the second set, I started climbing the hill on Douglas north of Eighth Street. This is where some of those things I’ve learned from two years of cross country in high school and years of hanging around the great distance coaches of Yankton started kicking in. As I crossed the railroad tracks, something in head starting chirping, “use the hill.” I did, which actually got me going a little ahead of my planned pace. I ended up going through the first half at around 17:30.

I made the turn-around station at 17th and Douglas and, because of the heat, grabbed a cup of water. I don’t normally drink when I run, and my accelerated breathing made it difficult for me to drink much. But I downed some of it, used the rest to rinse out my mouth and got back to running.

As I approached 12th Street, I again had the thought, “use the hill.” I started increasing my strides, picking up the pace. But, by the time I reached the bottom of the hill, I was nearly spent and there was a mile left to go. (I guess that’s why I should have done more outside work instead of doing most of my pre-race running on the treadmill.)

I never had the urge to completely stop, though I didn’t run more than a couple minutes at a time the rest of the way. I had hoped to be able to finish the final three blocks — the home stretch — strong, but ended up walking a little with a block to go. Still, when I stopped my watch after crossing the finish line, it read “35:34.” (Official time was 35:25.)

Prior to that, I hadn’t even gone 3.1 miles in under 37 on the treadmill, and took 39 minutes the last time I ran that far outside. I had joked my goals were to finish in under 40 minutes and not get hit by a car (The second was actually a concern, because there were a couple vehicles on the course during the race.), but I figured I could run in 38. Wasn’t expecting to break 12-minute pace, at least not this time around.

While my pacing is still off, that old Veblen High School cross country determination was still there. Now I just need to keep working to get closer to that old VHS weight, and I might actually be able to do one of these things without stopping.

Thanks to everyone to gave me encouragement leading up to the race. That will carry with me as I continue training.

By the way, here are Jeremy’s photos from the race.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s