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5k run

Did another 5k – But am I a Runner?

IMG_0625I did my 3rd 5k race today. I was really nervous about it since I have not been running very much at all – maybe a 20 minute run per week -and I had not trained for it. But I was curious to know how the rest of my exercise would prepare me – does general fitness help? And I was curious about how my running time would stand up to the previous two runs.

There were all sorts of impediments that I was sort of hoping would make us decide to NOT do the run. I realized that the major bridge between where I live and the run took place, was closed all weekend for construction. But we ended up going around, and taking two other bridges, and we actually got there in about half an hour.

We got there so early we went to a Starbucks nearby (there are ALWAYS Starbucks nearby, aren’t there?) and I had my 2nd cup of coffee for the morning (probably not wise). We went over to the race course about twenty minutes ahead of time, registered and got little tags to pin to our shirts. This was definitely a low-budget, low-tech, volunteer affair, unlike the other races. Which meant that most of the people participating were more serious runners.

There were only a few minutes to “warm up” and I was sort of kicking myself, because the point of getting there super early was to WARM UP, not to sit and drink coffee at Starbucks. Duh! There was no bell or gun or anything at the Start, just a guy yelling, “Ready…. set… GO!” We went. Most of the crowd (a few hundred people?) took off really, really fast. M and I had sworn to each other that we would try and go at a comfortable pace, and not get all worked up about trying to keep up with folks. This was hard as most people just kept passing and passing us.

For the first mile or so, my feet hurt. My feet haven’t hurt while exercising in MONTHS. But they hurt. Plus I knew I was breathing harder than usual. M kept saying, “It’s going to get easier.” Probably the middle mile was the easiest. My foot pain eased up and we were in sort of a rhythm. It was super windy. We were going against the wind and it felt like a huge hand was just pushing us way back. The good part was that it was right along the water and the Golden Gate Bridge was right there and it looked quite pretty. (not that I looked at it much)

After a while, we started seeing the front runners coming towards us. The route had a turnaround point and those out in front were sailing past. They looked pretty awesome and cool and I felt inspired seeing them. Then I kept wondering, when do WE get to turn around? It took a lot longer to get to that point than I would have liked.

The last mile was both better and worse. The prospect of finishing made me happy, but I think we were both struggling a bit and wondering if it was going to happen. Then the finish line was in sight. We sprinted at the end, so we could finish with a time of 36 minutes. We did! But then I felt instantly nauseated. I had to walk around. I felt pretty awful.

After we drove home and I dropped M off, I noticed that I was only about a mile from my Sunday morning Nia class, and it was starting in 15 minutes. Part of me said, “That’s crazy” and part of me felt like I really, really needed it. I think the run had stressed me. I felt pretty anxious during most of it, asking constantly about the time and trying to figure out if I was going to survive. I was sure I was filled with adrenaline and stress hormones. I felt like I needed the calm and grounding of Nia, even if it was another workout. So I went.

It was lovely, and very energizing. I felt like the run had really warmed me up, plus the room was super hot. I was really happy to be in there. The teacher was fantastic (again).  I was glad I had done it. After the class, I decided to go check out the mega amazing super organic million-times-better-than-Whole-Foods new grocery store.

And it was in there that I bonked. Suddenly I was pushing my cart like a 100 year old person, feeling faint, nauseated, overwhelmed. None of the amazing food looked good to me, even though I hadn’t eaten anything since my PB-on-whole-wheat-English-muffin at 6:30am. (MISTAKE) But I pushed it along for an hour, came home, brought the groceries into the kitchen, feeling worse and worse and worse, then promptly fell into bed and did not move except to moan for the rest of the day (I am still in bed).

I think I got super dehydrated. I also did not do myself any favors by not eating, especially before the Nia class. But I had been feeling so upset-stomachy that food did not appeal. So I pretty much messed myself up today. Oh well. I learned. And I recovered by having some super salty chicken soup that my nice husband brought to me.

But I’m feeling ambivalent about running now. The good news is:

  1. I finished.
  2. I finished with the same time as my last race.
  3. 36 minutes for 3.1 miles is not amazing, but it is also not too shabby. For a 50 yr old who does not run a lot.
  4. It made me feel happy and accomplished, and I got another little ribbon to add to my collection.

The bad news is:

  1. I was really pretty anxious during the whole run.
  2. I was dumb and did not hydrate or eat enough.
  3. I basically was useless the entire second half of the day. I mean, I felt TERRIBLE.
  4. I do not want to run all the time, which is probably necessary for doing better during races than I did today.

The thing is, I actually like running when I am running to run, but not in races. I get too caught up in keeping up with people. Meanwhile, today, an 80 year old limping guy passed us. A woman who probably weighs 150 more than me passed us. A ton of little kids passed us, including a few who fell down and were crying, but got up and still beat us.

We ARE the running Penguins, that’s for sure. Should we just run for the fun of it when we want to, as far as we want to, or should we (or mainly I) keep doing races?

I Did It! Ran the entire 5k!!!!!!!!!!!

I was unsure yesterday whether I’d actually make it to today’s 5k. Yesterday I was beset with horrible female problems (groann) as well as gastrointestinal distress, aka major constipation. (sorry if TMI) It made running impossible, so I walked the 5k lake, hobbling and groaning the whole way. Not very auspicious. Yesterday afternoon/evening I did not feel very well. I laid low.

I slept a rather fitful sleep, and shot out of bed around 5:50am. I think I was so pumped on adrenaline. I did a self-eval and decided I did not feel so bad. I was not sure what I should eat/drink in terms of having energy and also in terms of my GI situation. Coffee? No? I got a quick consult from EatWithoutGuilt on Twitter and she said OK to whole wheat English muffin with PB, and NO COFFEE. So I drank water.

It was raining on the way out there. I did not mind. In my opinion, hot weather is a lot worse than rain. I got there around 7am, picked up my Tshirt, tried to use Starbucks bathroom (fail), then warmed up with a brisk walk for about 4-5 blocks. My friend K showed up and we went over to the start line. We had decided that we’d each go at our own pace, and I was realllly relying on the music from my iPod to keep me on pace. (actually to keep me going slow enough so I would not burn out)

It was very exciting there at the starting line! My heart was pumping like a jackhammer. I did some stretches and then they counted down. I took off. K rounded one corner with me, and then SHE took off like a bunny. I lost sight of her in seconds! But that was okay.

The second song that came on (my “run list” is on Shuffle, so I don’t know what order they will play) was “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” It was perfect. I was sort of crying and laughing the whole time, and the pace was just right.

Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are
Come on baby…don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand…don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly…don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…

Who was my man? The 80 year old guy right in front of me! He was plodding along at a nice slow rate, and his feet were matching mine. I loved him. I was like, you go, guy! Clearly he did not fear the reaper, and neither did I. (for those who don’t know, I started exercising just a few months ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes)

The first half or so was good. I was in the zone. My feet did not hurt at all. (backstory: I have had massively painful flat arches which KILL me when I run. I just got fitted for orthotics which arrived on Thursday, and the sports podiatrist was dubious about me running with them without breaking them in enough). The orthotics were really comfortable and my feet felt great.

It was raining. I did not care. “Amie” (Counting Crows) and “New Year’s Day” (U2) came on. Both pretty fast paced, but they felt good. Yay! “Friend of the Devil” came on and it made me smile, as usual.

Set out runnin’ but I take my time
A friend of the devil is a friend of mine
If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.


I peeked at my watch at the 18 minute mark. I was a little concerned because we had not turned around yet (it was a big loop) and I was almost at the point of my longest run ever (20 minutes). I was wondering how much longer than my longest run I would be able to manage. I figured adrenaline could take me to 30, but more..? I wasn’t sure.

It was interesting to see people’s approach to the race. A bunch of people did run-walk-run. Some people kept passing me because they were running fast, then they’d walk and I’d pass them. My 80 year old pace boyfriend vanished into the front somewhere. I also paced for a while behind a woman who looked like she weighed about 250 lbs (my guess) and she also took off, was much faster than me. I passed a bunch of Juicy-Couture slim little mamas who were walking, not running. That made me feel amused.

Finally we passed a sign that said either 3k or 2 miles, I don’t remember. It made me feel discouraged. I was getting tired for sure. I could still breathe OK, and I wasn’t hurting, but I was just fatigued.

When I could see the finish banner up ahead, maybe 1/4 mile, I got REALLY tired feeling. I think my body was like, “OK, you’re done now! Stop!” But I could not stop. So I forced myself to look at the ground. The last song was an amazing song by Ferron. It could not have been more perfect. It’s called “It Won’t Take Long.”

But you who dream of liberty must not yourselves be fooled
Before you get to plea for freedom, you’ve agreed to being ruled
If the body stays a shackle then the mind remains a chain
That’ll link you to a destiny whereby all good souls are slain
And it won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all
It won’t take long, and you may say
“What has that got to do with me” and I say,
“You mean to tell me that’s all?”


At noon on one day coming, human strength will fill the streets
Of every city on our planet, hear the sound of angry feet
With business freezed up in the harbour, the kings will pull upon their
Hair
And the banks will shudder to a halt, and the artists will be there
‘Cause it won’t take long, it won’t take too long at all,
It won’t take long, and you may say,
“I don’t think I can be a part of that,” and it makes me want to say,
“Don’t you want to see yourself that strong?”



Hell yeah! I do!!!! By that point, I was only yards away from the finish. I got a huge burst and SPRINTED past my husband with the camera. I saw the timing clock and it said 39 minutes something. I knew I wanted to come in under 40. I was also like, HOLY MOLY I just doubled my longest running time!!

I ran across the finish and was completely drenched, exhausted, ECSTATIC. Kathy was there. She’d come in quite a ways before me, although she said she’d walked some. She came in 10th in her age division! Go girl! I got the online results and saw that I was in the exact middle of the pack for my age division. (and if I moved up to the next division, which I will in August, I would’ve been 13th!) I was very very pleased with this. And I was also in the exact middle of the pack for the race overall.

We got home and I took a hot shower. I then started feeling massively nauseaus and crampy. I spent the rest of the day in bed, sleeping and groaning. I wonder if I was really sick yesterday and then just got adrenalized this morning. I don’t know. I feel like poo, but I am so so so so amazed and proud that I did this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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