Back in the Game!

Don’t you worry… the running doesn’t stop at the end of one little marathon!  I have just been taking it easy over the past few weeks; getting back into the groove of running.  I found a new group to run with on Thursday nights (well, my good old running buddy is in that group… we still plan to keep each other motivated for as long as we can).  I even get to return back to my favorite bridges on those nights!  I’m lovin’ life!

Well, what’s next?  A personal record (PR) on a 5k (that’s 3.1 miles for you non-runner types).  I have to run the thing in under 27 minutes.  Why?  Well, there is this crazy race here in Jacksonville every March.  It is known as the Gate River Run.  The largest 15K in the nation.  Needless to say, everybody who calls themselves a “runner” has to participate in this race (I suppose they don’t have to, but it is like some kind of unwritten code of the running world).  Now, you can’t just sign up for this race because then you will get stuck at the back of the line (they did say it is the LARGEST 15K).  Imagine pushing past thousands of people and weaving in and out of walkers.  So, in order to get a spot near the front of the mass crowd, you have to achieve set times on certain types of races.  So, here I am, trying to make sure I’m in a good spot by doing well on my next 5K.  Just so I can run a 15K next.  Did any of that make sense to you?  It doesn’t really make sense to me, but at least it gives me goals.  I need goals in order to stay focused and keep pushing forward.

So today, my buddy and I decided to try a practice 5K in hopes of achieving our time goal.  Well, we start off flying fast down the road.  Then we realize that we are probably going too fast and we might die soon if we don’t tone it down a bit.  After the first mile (and why did it seem to take forever to reach that first mile even though we did it in 8:17?), my buddy says something about coffee, sick and puke.  We couldn’t really talk in complete sentences because of how fast we were going.  She stopped to do her business (which I assumed was to be sick in the bushes… however, I later come to find out that she didn’t actually do the deed) and told me to keep going.  I kept running, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hang without someone running next to me.  The next mile took forever, but I would have to say that the third mile was the longest.  I visualized mile 22 of the marathon and thought about how awful I felt then and how I felt just as awful at mile 2.5 of this quick jaunt.  It was a different kind of awful, though, because I didn’t feel like my limbs were going to fall off… I felt like my lungs were going to explode.  Somehow I made it to 3.1 and fumbled around in my pocket to grab my phone in an effort to check my time: 25:31.  Whew!  I did it!  As I looked up, my buddy was right there!  Whew!  We both did it!

Then a nice, lovely 3-mile jog back to our cars.  Okay, it wasn’t really the greatest jog of our lives, but it was much better than the speed race we had just completed.  I think we are ready for the real thing on Saturday!  Oh man, do we really have to do that all over again?  In the beginning I thought that maybe I was made for speed.  Now I think I would rather take a slow 12-mile jog over a fast 3-mile run!

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