I did it! I ran my first race in 6 months!
It was so amazing just to be a part of a race again. I forgot how inspiring it is to be among so many other runners. The Phillies 5K took place downtown Philly at our Phillies baseball stadium. The race course winds around our baseball and football stadiums and culminates in a cool down lap around the field so it was a festive atmosphere. Lots of Phillies pride being exhibited everywhere from hats to shirts to socks.
Note to self: buy festive compression socks.
Since I wasn’t planning to race, I wasn’t properly prepared. I’d done a pretty hard run on Thursday and then I had an intense strength workout yesterday morning which involved one-legged squats that left me sore and stiff. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t the ideal day to race.
In my heart of hearts, I wanted to match my current PR which is 27:56. I thought it would be pretty sweet if I could still run a 5K in 28 minutes. But I knew that was a long shot. Still, it was a flat course and I knew the race adrenaline would kick in and I thought I had a chance.
I could tell from the start that I wasn’t going to match my PR or even come close. My legs felt like lead — very rare for me on a race. Usually the adrenaline sets in and I end up running faster than it feels. But not today. I’ve had enough tough runs to know when there’s no point in pushing it so I just settled into a comfortable pace and decided to enjoy the experience. Since I was standing in for a friend, my name isn’t even listed in the results, just my bib number. I knew I had nothing to prove by hurting myself and everything to gain by playing it smart and taking it easy.
My goal soon became to finish the race without walking, but in the home stretch I couldn’t resist taking a quick breather. When I saw the finish ahead, I broke into a run and actually sprinted across the line. It was stupid, but it felt good to go for broke in that last tenth of a mile.
My final time was 29:23.5 according to my Garmin and 29:21.6 according to my official bib score.
I walked it off, grabbed water and a banana and did some stretching while I waited to join my friends. My glutes and hammies were tightening up because of the sprint on top of my hard workout yesterday, and I could feel some tightness in my lower back as well. I tried to stretch and contemplated scheduling a deep tissue massage, but now that I’m back home and showered and coffeed up, I’m feeling better.
The good news? MY FEET FEEL GREAT.
I know that they felt great after my half marathon too so I don’t want to get cocky. But I am hoping and praying that I’ve turned a corner and the worst of it is behind me.
Of course, I am old and I know that I will probably be dealing with issues of one sort or another as long as I try to keep running, but I’m going to try to be smart and do as much as I can to prevent future injuries and address any issues right away rather than waiting until the situation gets dire.
Today? I’m flying high!