5K #2

Today I ran in my second 5K race. My goal was to improve on the 40 minutes and 36 seconds it took me to complete the first one. Toward that end, I’ve been training for the last few weeks.

This week, my plan was to run four miles on both Tuesday and Thursday. I had a hard time with my Tuesday run. Dreary weather and painful shins really slowed me down. In fact, I put in my worst time ever–nearly an hour to run the full four miles.

Wednesday evening, I participated in a Zumbathon fundraiser for a local organization that fights child abuse. Having missed my regular Zumba classes on Sunday and Monday to attend a conference in Savannah, I was experiencing a little withdrawal and really looked forward to seeing all my Zumba pals. A huge crowd turned up–more than 200 people.

As Zumba King, I assumed my usual position, front and center. Being on the front row makes it easy to see the instructor which makes following the choreography a lot less difficult. The fact it also gives me a clear view of myself in the mirror has almost nothing to do with it. I salsa’d, merengue’d, and kumbia’d through all but the last fifteen minutes of the two-and-a-half hour event before I hit a wall and had to quit.

Thursday, my knees were sore from all the Zumba. Even though the weather was gorgeous, to keep from overdoing it, I decided not to run. Then I spent all day Thursday and Friday worrying that I wasn’t ready for the race.

This morning, the temperature was about twenty degrees cooler than it’s been all week. When we got to the site of the race, the sun had come out and the temperature started climbing. The race was sponsored by the College of Family and Consumer Sciences where we both work, so we mingled with the other runners, coworkers, and supporters of our college. Several had also participated in the Zumbathon and came up to let me know how impressed they were with my Zumba skills.

By race time, it had warmed up enough that I didn’t need a jacket–a big relief because running with a jacket slows me down. For my first 5K, just finishing the race was goal enough. This time, the desire to improve upon my time motivated me to try harder. I made sure to start near the front of the pack and hoped they’d inspire me to run faster.

It worked–I started off running quite a bit faster than my usual tortoise-like pace. Before we reached the first mile marker, I realized the pace was too fast for me. I ended up walking for a bit so I could catch my breath.

By the time I started running again, everyone had settled into a steady pace. I looked around for someone to keep up with, and settled on two mildly overweight sorority girls and two stout men who appeared to be about my age. Unlike last time when everyone left me in the dust, I managed to keep up with them for most of the race. Toward the end, one of each sped up. I couldn’t keep up with them, but did pick up my pace enough to leave the other two behind.

Today’s race didn’t seem nearly as long as the first one. Before I knew it, we were heading toward the finish line. I sped up when it came into view, and when I saw the time clock, ran as fast as I could.

The results haven’t been posted yet, so I don’t know my official time. But judging from the two-second video my partner took of me crossing the finish line, my time was 37 minutes and 23 seconds–three minutes and thirteen seconds faster than my time for the first race. Winning!

We got home early enough to make it to Zumba. That means I’ve had almost two hours of aerobic activity today. That’s more than enough to justify  spending the rest of the day just sitting around in…

My Glass House