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Lance Armstrong Talked to Me

April 21, 2007

Who did a 5K today? That would be me. Someday I’d like to do one and run the whole thing, but that day was not today. Today I ran about the first 2K and then walked and ran and walked and ran, etc. and when I was done, I had a personal best. Best out of two, because this was only my second 5K ever, but still–personal best. Per the results posted on the wall of the gym, I finished in 35:55, an 11:34 pace, which is not too shabby. (I didn’t realize how not shabby until I came home and looked up the results for my first 5K back in December; that was a 12:09 pace. I even went faster than either of the two 4Ks I’ve done, so I’m definitely making progress.) There was a rumor going around that the 5K times were going to be adjusted down a bit because that race had some glitch with the start, but it was only a handful of seconds people were talking about so I’m not going to find out I really ran sub-11 or something.

This morning’s race has caused me to consider rethinking my stand against early morning starts. I chose to do this one because it went off at 10 a.m., which seemed quite civilized. What I wasn’t thinking about was the heat, since we haven’t really had any for months and months. Today was one of the first really warm days this spring, and I’d sort of forgotten what they’re like. At 8 a.m. it was pleasantly cool, at 9 it was pleasantly warm, and by 10 it was good standing around in the shade weather, but of course it was then that I had to start jogging down sunny streets. Since the trees haven’t leafed out yet, there was hardly any shade to take the edge off, either.

I got pretty melty. I really wish I’d chosen to change into the shorts I brought, but I haven’t run in shorts in so long I was worried I’d feel strange and that would throw me off my game (I know, as if I have game in the first place), so there I was in long pants (not even lightweight ones, because my lightweight ones don’t have zippered pockets and I didn’t want to lose my car key) and a black shirt (short-sleeved at least, but I really wish I hadn’t been so concerned with coordinating with my dark teal pants and just worn the light blue even though it clashed). I got so hot that when I passed the aid station, I took a cup of water, drank a swallow and dumped the rest on my head to cool off. Except I’ve never tried that move before and ended up dumping most of the water not on my head but on my back and butt instead, though at least that still provided somewhat of a cooling effect.

Mistress of the Obvious Tip of the Week: If you make a super duper race playlist with songs strategically placed in a particular order, check the shuffle setting on your iPod before you set out. Fortunately I learned this lesson in my last pre-race training session, when my triumphant finish song came on about five minutes after I’d started. I got that resolved and this morning I had my slower songs at the start when I’m tempted to go out too fast and a funny one near the middle when I’m likely to be feeling a little discouraged and motivating stuff in between.

One thing I forgot to do was figure out what my target per mile pace converted to per kilometer–when I looked at the nano screen a block into the race I was alarmed by the 6-something pace, but then realized that was per kilometer, not per mile as I’m used to seeing when I workout. I wasn’t up to doing the math in my head while I was running in a crowd, so I just ignored that part of the display the rest of the race and paced off of other people, choosing new ones as needed. I found it just a bit odd that at the end, after I clicked the nano to tell it to stop recording my workout, Lance Armstrong’s voice came over the headphones and congratulated me for my fastest mile ever. Was he not paying attention to the whole kilometer thing? And if he was watching my mile times, why couldn’t they have been shown to me as I was running? The world is full of mystery.

So now I’ve got four races under my belt. I’d really hoped to be lighter and faster by now, but where I’m at isn’t bad at all considering where I started late last summer. I’ll just have to keep at it.

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