Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aaron's Followup - 5K Complete. I tolerate running!

With a week to go before my first ever 5K, I went out for a pre-race tuneup compliments of my physical therapist - 10 minute walk, 15 minute run, 10 minute walk.  Not only was it my first outdoor run in years, but it was also the longest I had run since I was in college.  Who would run more than 1 mile at a time, right?

Shorts in 30 degrees?  No sweat for a hockey player!

So off I went with my new playlist and proceeded to adhere to the game plan.  The first 10 minutes of running was easier than in my previous post, but the last 5 was tough.  Same issue as before - tired legs and poor conditioning.  Somehow, I got through it and was about 3 minutes into the last leg when I realized that I had only 1/2 a mile to go before hitting the coveted 3.1 mile marker.  With that, I threw out the rest of the walk and ran the rest of the way to complete an unofficial 5K in 39:34.  To say I was gassed would be an understatement, but 39:34 was pretty damn good when I walked 15 minutes and never set out to finish a 5K when I started.

That day, I thought it over and decided that I could lower that time to 35 minutes.  The problem, though, is that my plan required me to push that single running interval to 2 miles in 21 minutes followed by a short walking interval to recoup for a final push for the last 3/4 of a mile.  No sweat!  Unfortunately, my legs didn't feel as good over the next few days and I was all-around tired.  New Year's Eve, the eve of the big race, I went to bed early.  I needed every ounce of energy I could muster for the big day.

Disclaimer: photo documentation was highly lacking.  That's the problem with having both you and your wife run a race together.

Steph and I woke up this morning, put on our new "Crazy Bitch" gear, and headed over to the race.

These came out much better than initially pictured.  Plenty for sale here!

I was focused on my plan.  Steph, on the other hand, went a bit crazy with excitement, even rubbing my belly for good luck (for the first time ever).  The horn went off and we spent a minute or two wading through the crowd to get to the start line.  I rarely feel claustrophobic but things were tight in there.  Everything went off without a hitch, and we were on our way.

Thankfully, Steph decided to forgo this race and spent her time making sure I stuck to the plan.  It was incredibly difficult to keep pace when we were getting passed by a ton of people.  Regardless, things were going alright until I spotted a hill on the course!  I hadn't done hill training before, so it felt like it'd be a huge challenge.  Keeping Steph's mantra in mind, we passed people on the uphill and took it slow on the downhill.  Eventually, we hit the first mile marker at about a 10:30 pace.  Things were going well.  I wasn't out of breath and my legs felt good.  At one point, I had visions of me running the whole race without stopping.

Five or six minutes later, I had to push myself to complete the 2nd mile.  I was huffing and puffing; my legs felt wobbly; and I wanted to stop because I was tired.  For some reason, Steph thought it was the perfect time to take pictures!  Somehow, I pushed through that wall and hit the 2nd mile marker in 21 minutes!  I hit my goal exactly as I had set out to do.  I could finally stop and recuperate before my final push.

Smile for the camera!

Within 2 minutes, my breathing stabilized and I was ready to run again.  Steph and I kicked it up and started passing people left and right.  I was going to make 35 minutes and do it with speed!  Within 2 minutes, though, my legs were just too tired to keep up that pace and I was left with two speeds - slower run or walk.  On several occasions, walking seemed like the better option, but Steph kept me going all the way to the finish.  33:04!

I was so exhausted, I barely noticed that someone was taking my picture as I crossed the finish line.  I felt like crap and, according to Steph, looked like it too.  I can't wait to see that picture.  But I exceeded my expectations and was able to walk away from the race instead of riding in an ambulance.

The medal doubles as a wine stopper.  Pretty sweet.

After cooling down, I told Steph that I have my eyes set on the Super 5K and any other race that has a "linemen" or "clydesdale" division.  Her response - "I knew you'd be hooked!"  I might not hate running as much as I did a few months ago, but at least now, I tolerate it!

Four finishers within 5 minutes.  Not bad for sticking together.

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