10.13.2012

Oh No! We're Running!! New Things Day 13


"Oh No! We're running!" is exactly what Kristen said as we started off down the hill.  That's how I felt about the whole experience myself.  When I had my hysterectomy in August, I knew it would be six weeks before I was allowed to "sprint" out of the gate again. I didn't really intend to run a 5K in October. I'm not even sure how it happened. All I know is suddenly two people who shared a crappy summer and did not run or take care of themselves in any way, were planning to run 5K, along with a very dismayed third stooge, Kristen.

Let me be honest, I actually hit the pavement again about two weeks ago. Except for small inclines and declines, my course isn't hilly, and I like it like that.  I'm easing my way back into the discipline, or at least that was my plan.  Then today happened.

I haven't run a 5k in just about two years. For a runner like me - who dabbles and will never set a single land speed record, but who still really does love running - it's a bit intimidating. People can be very serious about running. Very. Serious.  Which is fine, I'm just not that person. I'm happy to be sort-of upright at the end. But the competitor in me (and I am very competitive, truly) cringes at the knowledge that I am never going to win this, not even close.  I'll be lucky not to embarrass myself.  So I'm generally pretty happy to run alone in the early morning hours where I can imagine I am almost an Olympic qualifier.

Today as I ran down the hill, I knew with dread that I had to come back up the same way in three miles. I knew I wasn't anywhere close to the head of the pack, and not advancing either. I knew I wasn't at all ready to finish a 5K with any aplomb, if at all. And yet, I did run at least 2/3 of it.  I didn't actually cry on any of the many brutal hills though I thought about it.  I ran, and walked, and panted and gritted my teeth and ignored that I was hearing finishers announced already as I approached the half way point.  I tried not think about the fact that I could no longer even see a man with one prosthetic leg and that I was lapped going up a giant hill by a woman in a cow print tutu pushing a stroller (who would later go on to run the 1 mile fun run with the child in the stroller while I gasped and tried not to drown in my bottled water.)

Oh no! Indeed.  Before I knew it, I was running. It wasn't really what I thought I'd be doing this beautiful, cool October morning, but once I was in it, I knew I had to finish. I didn't go as fast as some, but I when I came to the end, I was more pleased with my time than I probably have a right to be.  Tonight I'm tired and slightly achy, but tomorrow I'll wake up ready to run again, or at least ready to think about it.

Running is a lot like life. I shouldn't be so surprised to find myself in the middle of the scramble.

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