The joyous event that was High Rock was over, the post race celebration we had at the house finished early and i flopped on to the couch with one thought in my mind. "Why did I sign up for a 5k tomorrow. A road race none the less."
I'm not the fastest runner, especially on the road. This is why in the past I gravitated to longer trail runs. This is why I am now switching back to shorter races. I'm average at best so I challenged myself to drastically improve my 5k time. I am putting in the time doing track work, shortening my distances, and increasing my speed.
Waking up Sunday morning the first thing I did was move my legs around a little to see how they felt. My first impression was that they were pretty good, then I stood up and oof my quads were sore. I decided to go on autopilot, I walked to my dresser and immediately put on my running gear. Once that stuff is on the chance of me not running is close to nil.
I looked back at Danielle still sleeping next to Lucia and thought one more time about crawling back into bed and then all of us head to a diner for breakfast. Nope, its easy to go back to bed especially after hard I ran High Rock but going out with blown legs is the hard choice, this is where gains are made. I finished getting ready and headed out.
I deliberately parked on the other side of the park so I could do some recovery jogging and give my legs another chance to loosen up. I started thinking that I did this in January. I ran a half marathon on Saturday and then a full marathon the next day so whats the worry. In reality there wasn't any. Yes I ran harder at high Rock than at the half and my legs felt a lot more worn out but I only had to go another 3.1 miles not 26.2 it's less than 30 minutes of additional running no big deal.
Well here's the issue as i stated originally this race distance is still fairly new to me. The start is a sudden acceleration that doesn't stop until you cross the finish line. Okay, whatever I want this so here we go.
As we line up I see a lot of familiar faces that I know i wont see again until I cross that finish line. A girl sings the national anthem pretty well i might add and then were off. Bah, i'm on the street, theres all these people around me i got no where to go but straight down the hill which means I have to go right back up another hill. Normally this course wouldn't have been that bad but it took about a half mile for me to realize that this is going to be a painful experience. As we climb up the hill I am determined to keep a consistent pace. The little voice that pops in every runners head to just quit was there real early but that's not an option. So as I try to settle in I hear this odd click, its got louder nad louder and I look over to see one of the Kimbell brothers who just won the High Rock challenge (yet again) the day before pushing a baby stroller and with a look of complete relaxation methodically pass me. "Unbelievable" I thought look at how relaxed he is. Then I thought "Look at how relaxed he is". I will remember the look on his face and try to emulate his relaxed nature especially when I venture into unfamiliar territory again.
Mile 1, I feel....okay mile 2..well lets just say I'm glad that i'm more than halfway done. My legs don't feel stiff they feel floppy slightly unresponsive but they press on. My lungs were working overtime sucking in as much oxygen as possible even when every inhale felt like I was ingesting hot coals.
I knew we were close wrapping this up and although I was in agony I still had something left in the tank. A cliche I know but its true. i kept going not only that I started picking people off. As i looked ahead I would see a runner whose head was either down on flopping to the side so I knew I could take them. this really helped and as I climbed the last little hill near a quaint bridge I heard footsteps but no way in hell was anyone passing me not with less than a mile to go. I came to this race to prove something to myself and I was.
I was on the final stretch and the burning increased, my legs were flopping, and plodding to the finish line yet there I was running a PR a slow PR but I didn't quit. I woke up with destroyed legs, yet i still managed to run a 5k race faster than I ever ran one before.
I didn't quit, I didn't go back to bed, I didn't listen to that voice that tells you to just quit. I did what I set out to do and i'm proud of that. I know I will achieve my goal of drastically reducing my 5k time because if I can run like I ran this past Sunday at about 60% capacity with fresh legs there's no stopping me.