Or, more accurately, back to the races.
After taking a pretty significant break from racing—and running in general; apparently, I’ve become quite the fairweather runner in my “old age”—I got right back into the swing of things last Friday with the NHTI Delta Dental 5K in Concord.
And when I say I got right back into it, I’m not kidding.
Going into the race, I knew that there was, of course, no way I’d set a new PR. Throughout the winter, I ran once a week at best and went to maybe enough spin classes that I need a toe or two to count them all. (Nope, just checked—my fingers will suffice for counting spin classes.) In fact, aside from all the yoga classes I teach now (an average of 5 per week), my new-found appreciation for (I hesitate to call it a “love of”) taking a walk, a few handfuls of playing-in-the-snow days, and a few days of climbing in Vegas, I didn’t really do much in the way of exercise over the past four or five months. And if a lack of training wasn’t bad enough, the weather on race day was pretty terrible with temps in the high 40s and light-but-consistent rain.
So yeah, my expectations were low. Given all the factors working against me, I was fully prepared to run a pretty bad race—not my worst time ever, but close to it—and made peace with it as I sat in the warm building next to the starting line, waiting until the last possible moment to venture outside.
By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that things did not go as horribly as I anticipated. The rain didn’t slow me down as much as I thought it would (although I would argue that it definitely slowed me down some, especially in the beginning as I foolishly tried to avoid all the puddles). The lack of training/exercising at all didn’t slow me down as much as I thought it would. Hell, even the mystery injury in my right knee (mini-update: the ACL appears to be fine, but there may be something going on with the meniscus and/or LCL) didn’t affect my pace as much as I feared it might.
Of my last five 5Ks (including this one), I ended up running my best time. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, but I’m sure it’s not “keep on doing the bare minimum and expect your race times to be just fine” even though it sort of seems like it could be. I’d like to tell you that Friday’s not-totally-horrible performance inspired me to start actually putting some effort into training for the next few months of races (check out the events I have lined up and maybe even join me at one of them!), but the truth is that I’m still suffering a pretty severe lack of motivation these days.
One thing is for sure, though: whether my motivation ever returns or not, I’m pretty excited to be back on the racing scene, even if it’s just for the free t-shirts…