Last week, I really wanted to make sure I did plenty of running because I knew I had a 5K coming up on January 16. See, Chef had an ice carving competition in Niles, Michigan, and along with the town’s winter festival was a race: The Frigid 5K. Since I was planning to accompany him for the weekend, he suggested I run the 5K as well.
But I’ve been running only indoors, and I can’t seem to run a full three miles without walking lately, so I wanted to get myself ready.
But Monday we had our Monday Meal. Tuesday I went to the Y and ran 2.5 miles. Wednesday I was planning to run after I went to the Dollar Store… but then I couldn’t get to the Dollar Store because our van (to which I do not have a key) was parked behind my car because we needed to unload the firewood from the back of it. So instead of going to the Dollar Store or for a run, I unloaded wood. And I dropped a piece on my thumb, and it really really hurt and when I took off my glove I found that I was bleeding. A lot. And eight hours later, on my third band-aid (the darn thing wouldn’t stop bleeding), it still hurt and my thumbnail was turning black. And when I typed I was trying to hit the spacebar with my left thumb instead of my right injured thumb but that’s really hard to do when you’ve been spacing with your right thumb for all the years you’ve been typing, which is at least 20. And then it was getting dark and I was getting lazy and feeling sorry for myself because my thumb was really, really hurting, and I just wanted to go home and watch Sanctuary, which is a Sci Fi series, the latest disc of which we got from Netflix on Tuesday, so I didn’t run on Wednesday. And I was hoping it would all be okay if I went for one more run on Thursday to prepare. But then on Thursday, I developed a screaming headache while I was at work, and the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run. I really wanted to stick my head into a bucket of ice water.
On Friday, we drove up to the home of Chef’s cousin Jon. Jon lives just about half an hour from Niles, Michigan, so when we’ve got things to do in Niles, Jon and his wife let us stay with them. When they were on the phone discussing the details of our arrival and our stay, Jon asked Chef, “So when is Karen’s marathon again?”
Chef said, “It’s a 5K, and it’s Saturday morning.”
Later, Jon asked again, “So the marathon is on Saturday?”
“Jon,” Chef asked, “do you know the difference between a marathon and a 5K?”
“No,” Jon replied. “What’s the difference?”
“Oh,” Jon said. “So will she need to carbo-load?”
That Jon. He’s a funny guy.
It reminded me of that episode of The Office when Michael organizes a 5K Run for the Rabid, and Pam has to tell him that a 5K is five kilometers, not five thousand miles. And he ate a huge plate of Fettuccine Alfredo (heavy on the Alfredo) just before he ran it, and of course he threw it all up.
So no, I didn’t carbo-load (but we did have this fabulous Indian chicken dish that Jon’s wife Natalie made), and while I didn’t feel completely ready, I figured I’d be okay in spite of the cold and my lack of training.
Saturday morning, Chef drove me to the bike shop in Niles to register for the race. I pinned on my race number, used the bathroom, and walked with him to the start. The trail was rather icy — mostly, it was ice you could see, but there was at least one patch of black ice as well. I knew I was going to have to take it slow.
The race coordinator told us the ice lasted only about the first half mile. That wasn’t entirely true, but after that first bit it was at least easier to avoid the ice. There were rolling hills in the route, and they — combined with my lack of training and change in my gait as I avoided slick patches — conspired together to make my quads burn by the time I got to mile 2. And my knees were hurting, too.
The turn-around was at the top of a hill, and as I went around the cones and headed back down the hill, I took a little walking break. Then I decided to buck up since I was over half-way done, and I started running again. I tried to catch up with the girl in the bright pink hat, and I got really really close because she walked for a long time, but just as I was about to get to her, she started running again and that goal was down the drain. I finished the race in 36:22 which isn’t a great time, but considering the ice and my jelly-legs, I was okay with it.
Chef was waiting for me at the finish, and we walked over to the warming tent where I had a bowl of chili. I knew I wasn’t going to win any age group prizes (I might have if they’d had their expected 30 entrants, but they ended up with 160 entrants, which of course drastically reduces my chances of winning any awards.) However, I did win a door prize — a huge canister of Gatorade powder which retails for $15 more than my entry fee was. I think I made out pretty well… especially since age group prizes were water bottles and I have about a zillion water bottles and didn’t really want another one. Plus some other guy who had won a door prize of a coupon to a local Pizza Hut gave us his coupon because he didn’t live in the area and wouldn’t be around long enough to use it. So I got TWO door prizes!
All in all, my first race of 2010 was a decent experience, and now I have lots of Gatorade powder to boot.