As boring and as dull as it sounds... I've come to accept the fact that I am in fact a morning person. I like being up in the morning, I like getting to bed at a decent hour at night... and I've finally decided to embrace my inner blue hair and proclaim it to the world.
Yes, I'm a morning person. I realize that by being a 28 year old who is in bed asleep by 9:30 most week-nights, I'm not going to win any awards for being the friend you most likely want to go out and party with. I realize this. And... I don't care. (Incidentally, I'm also the friend that always drinks too much and ends up throwing up at the end of the night anyway... so... there's that, too).
Being a morning person... I like to do my runs in the morning, too and over the course of the last year or so, I've become that person that can only run in the mornings. Like in the afternoons... I'm tired, cranky, lazy, and I hate the traffic and exhaust fumes. So, you'll probably be surprised to know that I signed up for a NIGHT race. Yeah... I was surprised at myself, too.
Not only was the race at night. But it was also 25 degrees outside. I know. Crazy. Absolutely crazy.
I wasn't the only one, though... no, there were over 700 people at this race. I mean, seriously... what the hell were we all thinking? Anyway. My strategy was simple: Run the hell out of this race to get it over with as quickly as possible. I decided to race without my watch or my headphones (forgetting again how much I hate to hear my breathing when I'm running).
The race started out with a massive uphill (over a bridge) and I took off like gangbusters. Heaving and gasping my way up that bad boy. Only to start coasting down a different hill and realizing that... yes... I was going to have to run up this other hill in a minute. Fantastic. I powered my way up that hill and it was at this point... about halfway through the race that I seriously felt like I was running at a snails pace. With no gauge... I was frightened that I'd end up with a really slow time and I was already coming up with excuses in my head... "I'm still recovering from my marathon.... I'm running too many races post marathon, etc..." I knew I had no gas for the end and was getting passed by lots of other people. They had found their second wind... while I was still recovering from my first.
I rounded the corner and could see the race clock in the distance. The first glimpse I had of it, I assumed I'd see a 27:00ish.... instead... I saw a 24:30ish. WHAT? I'm not running a grandma pace, but I'm actually on par to PR??? I tried to kick it up a notch to finish off the last tenth of a mile and ended up crossing the line with a chip time of 25:16. Blasting my previous 5k time of 26:21. Vandy Montana also PRed, so props to him, too!
I ended up 4th out of 80 in my age group. So, I'm pretty pleased with that, but I'm super psyched to have PRed by such a huge margin, even with those two steep hills. Immediately after the race though, my shin was acting up... I ended up having to ice it Saturday night, but it's feeling better now.
The moral of the story is this: Sometimes, I guess it's good to do something out of your comfort zone. And sometimes... when you feel like you're dying... you're actually on track to PR... so, keep pushing it.