Saturday morning, in a word: Ouch.
“Ouch,” because of the ever-present rolling hills on the Montgomery County Road Runners Turkey Burnoff course. “Ouch,” because being able to balance on a stability ball on your knees while holding a medicine ball (which I can do, thanks to my pre-skiing workouts) means absolutely nothing in a road race if you’ve barely been running. “Ouch,” because I’m still trying to shake a seemingly never-ending head-cold, which left me wheezing at the end of most of the aforementioned hills. “Ouch,” because all those ouchies over a little five-miler made me very, very scared about what this weekend’s Hot Chocolate 15K will hold.
On the upside …
The race started at 10 a.m., which left me plenty of time to consume my pre-race oatmeal and coffee without needing to set my alarm. I got to run with Katie, until her legs remembered they just trained for a half-marathon, and until my legs remembered they hadn’t trained for anything. I got to run through Seneca Creek State Park, which was lovely and peaceful, despite those stupid little hills. And the post-run spread was amazing for a low-key, low-cost ($10 for non-MCRRC members!) race, with cupcakes, trail mix and cinnamon buns in addition to the standard bananas and bagels.
Also, even as this race shook my confidence in my ability to run a painless 15K this weekend, it also kind of affirmed my confidence in my ability to at least finish a 15K on very little focused training. See, I’d meant to run steady 10-minute miles on Saturday. But I left my Garmin at home, and with mile markers that seemed woefully off (I’m pretty I didn’t jog that first mile in eight minutes), I had a hard time judging my pace, which was actually closer to 9 minutes and change—my official race time was 46:30, and my watch time was 46:10. It wasn’t easy, but it was more than I thought I had in me on that particular morning.
This means that if I wear my Garmin to the 15K, and be reeeally careful to run no faster than 10-minute miles for the first 10K (what, like I’m going to PR that last 5K or something?), I should at least be able to reach the finish line/the holy land of chocolate rivers, where dessert is served long before it’s appropriate to eat lunch. I’m not saying I’ll feel or look good doing it, but I’ll get there.
More about 15K goals on Wednesday. For now, enjoy these photos, taken by Katie’s poet/personal course support: