Running in the New Year

“So, when was the last time you ran 6 miles?” Gary asked as we pulled into the parking lot for the Lowell First Run, our first race (10k) of 2016, on New Year’s morning. It was a valid question, and one whose answer was even sadder than I anticipated.

“Uh…that time I ran 8 miles with you a while back,” I sheepishly replied. I knew it had been quite some time, but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized “a while back” meant “more than 3 months ago.” To make matters worse, it had been over two weeks since I had run at all.

Oops.

My usual “I’ve made a huge mistake” face on top, and a “Wow, I can’t believe I actually found one of the other people I know here!” face on bottom

We walked to the Elks Lodge to pick up our numbers/hats/gloves, and ran into my friend Diane. After dropping off some things at bag check, the three of us headed out to the start area and promptly chose the slowest-moving portapotty line in history. While standing in the cold kind of sucked, it was nice to have time to chat about yoga school with Diane (who just happens to be one of the coolest yoga teachers I know)…aaand it gave Gary plenty of time to give me shit about how little I’ve been running.

After the trumpeter finished the national anthem, we were off! Well, sort of—it’s a big event and there were about 3 minutes worth of people ahead of us. So, eventually we were off! Gary and I watched Diane shoot way ahead like a rocket, and Gary left me in the dust a few minutes later. I was well aware of the fact that I didn’t stand a chance of sticking with either of them, so I settled into a comfortably hard pace and refused to let my sudden aloneness get me down. (This is a bigger deal than it seems, as I used to have some pretttty strong feelings against running partnerless. Hurray for finally getting over some of your weird shit, Reven!)

 

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Coming around the corner at mile 4.5 with my derp face on fleek.
[Photo by Jim Rhoades]
By mile 2 I realized that, if I died that day, it was going to be the result of excessive sweating. (SWEATING TO DEATH IS A REAL THING!?) But I was far too lazy to go through the hassle of un-pinning my bib, ditching my jacket, and re-pinning my bib. In hindsight, it probably would have been worth the 30 seconds; but at least by being stubborn about it, I taught myself a valuable lesson—35º is not jacket weather when you’re running.

Other than my near-death-by-sweating experience, the race was uneventful. I passed some girls dressed as Disney princesses and witnessed some volunteers’ sweet dance moves as I ran past one of the water stops, but without anyone to talk to I mostly tuned the rest of the world out until the finish line, where my competitive side took over and I tried to pass as many people as I could.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 11.17.16 AM
I have no idea how I managed to maintain such an even pace. This has literally never happened to me in my entire running life. (Also, check out that FU spike right at the end! I wish I could move that fast all the time!)

Earlier that morning, as Tim got ready to go up north, he had asked what my goal time was. “Anything under an hour,” I told him. Old Ashley would have been upset about finishing so close to an hour. (To be honest, Old Ashley would have been upset about her finish time no matter what it was.) But New Ashley was fairly pleased with herself and her 55:40 finish. It’s obviously not breaking any records—and it’s waayyy slower than my 10k PR—but for what was basically an off-the-couch situation, I think it’s pretty okay.

I also find it weirdly motivating…like, if that’s what I can do without really trying, just imagine how much better I’ll do if I actually train! Fortunately I have plenty of time to train for my next race in March. (Less fortunately, that race is a half marathon, which I am typically horrible at.) Now I just need to kick this stupid cold and get down to business…

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