I have a lifetime total running of about 25 hours now. Almost all of that is since the beginning of the year. Should I even be pushing myself at a 5k pace yet? So far I haven't noticed any lingering effects from running. Just the normal good kind of pain that a healthy level of stress induces. I knew from lunch runs I could run 5 miles at 6:36 pace without pushing myself at all. Could I break a 6 minute pace in a 5k if I pushed myself? I had absolutely no idea.
I'd guess over a hundred people lined up. Only a couple dozen looked like serious runner types. I was mentally prepared to get beat by 10 years old girls and 75 year old men. We go off, and in no time about 20 runners dart ahead of me. Maybe I wasn't mentally prepared enough for the schooling I was about to take.
It didn't take long to recognize that many of those runners were on borrowed intensity and were soon paying the intensity gods back with interest. I started passing people, in a foot race. Imagine that! Even my mother said she can't imagine me in a running race. Somebody was giving split times at the 1mi mark. I was 5:47. Wow, there's no way I'll maintain that pace.
During my second mile, I started to get that legs-moving-through-molasses feeling you get in bad dreams when monsters are chasing you. I feared imminent implosion. I still managed to pass another guy at about the halfway point. I had no idea how I was going to keep him behind me. My respiration was flat-out hardest of any effort I've done so far this year. And my chest hadn't yet recovered from inhaling all that dust at the Big Ring Rumpus the day before.
I heard my GPS beep at the 2 mile mark. If I could just hold on for another 6+ minutes, I could hurl after I finish. I managed to hold my position for the last mile. I finished in 19:02, good for 6th place overall, at a 6:08 pace. I think with a little running intensity and fresher legs, a sub-18 minute 5k is possible. Not sure what I'd be giving up on the bike to achieve this, but a morbid curiosity may push me to find out.
Looks like my left calf is back. Photo by Meg Turner.