Yesterday’s 5K was not as much fun as I’d hoped.
Let me explain why. First, I had to learn the hard way that running in 90-degree weather is not fun. In fact, I have to say that it would accurately be described as horrible. Yes, I know that the triathlon is in July and therefore I need to get used to the heat, but this was my first experience running in a temperature above 60 degrees and it was not pretty. There was no shade on this course at all and the race started at 1pm, so the full force of the sun was beating down on us. I spent a minute or two pondering the possibilities of spontaneous combustion, which oddly enough was a nice distraction. Thank goodness that nearly a dozen kind souls had set up sprinklers at the edge of their lawns for us runners to run through. One woman was even standing outside with a hose, and it felt like heaven. I said thank you to every single one of those people and might have even professed my undying love to a few of them.
Second, this is a run with the word “River” in its name, and a course description that says it is “run completely along the Connecticut River”. So I don’t think I was insane to have been envisioning myself sprinting along a path right next to the river. Right next to the river meaning a few yards away, where the view would be oh-so-pretty and perhaps a cool breeze might even lighten the burden of the race. But I just have a good imagination. This course could be considered “along” the river only if you were drunk, had no concept of distance, and are the type of person who constantly says “the other day” when you are referring to something that happened 20 years ago. For most of this course you cannot even see the river, and when you do it is easily seven football fields away and seems more like the mirage of a desperate crazy person than it does an actual body of water.
Third, besides finishing with a totally not impressive time of 37:48, I got my ass whooped by a 95-year-old man. I’d seen him before the race started and he was somewhere behind me the entire way, until the end. You see, this wonderful course ended in a steep hill, and this hill totally chewed me up and spit me out. Meanwhile, my elderly friend was gaining on me, and passed me towards the top. At this point I could barely breathe and felt like I was running sideways through quicksand while wearing footwear made of concrete, but still the thought in my head changed from “Just finish the race” to “You cannot let this old man beat you.” I tried to light a fire under my own ass but all I had left in me was a small flame, and he crossed the finish line an entire 9 seconds before me. I’m awed and super impressed by this guy, but….I ran a time a solid three minutes above what I was shooting for and got beat by a man nearly four times my age, so I have to say I spent the first few seconds after the race feeling a little lame. Then I realized the torture was over and finishing is always something to celebrate. My fourth 5k. Not too shabby. I don’t like to compare myself to anyone anyway!
But, as always happens post-race, the high wears off by the time I get home and I inevitably end up crashing like a limp ragdoll onto the couch/floor/bed. See, I’m always really good about making sure that I have some good pre-race food around to fuel me. Somehow, though, I always seem to forget about after the race, and end up lying around going, “Ehhhhhhh……I’m hungryyyyy…..and thirrrrrrrrsty……why don’t I have any fooooooodddd…. why doesn’t somebody bring me somethinggggg?!?!” until I realize that I live alone and no one is around to hear my calls of despair.
So on Sunday, after dragging myself off the couch and making myself a functional and productive human being again, I allowed myself back on the couch to relax later in the evening. After lying still for way too long, I turned onto my back and stretched out my cramped legs, only to hear a gross cracking noise in my left knee. Unfortunately this noise was accompanied by a minor but annoying amount of pain. My knee is still sore today, and if it’s not better by Wednesday I might be forced to head to the doctor for peace of mind. For now, besides the practical remedies of a little bit of rest, ice and Advil, I’m doing my best to will the pain away. Mind over matter. Because, seriously, how is it that I can run four 5Ks in a month and a half, be at the gym nearly every day, and then get injured lying on the couch?!