Today could not have been any better planned.
I’m by no means a great runner. Today was one of those times I would say I ran as good a race as I could. At my age you are not running to win the race. You set a personal goal and try to achieve it. As Sam would say, “I’m a lifetime 17:30 5k” and that’s what I strive to be.
I’m a fair weather runner and when the weather gets cold, I head to the treadmill. Sam said he was doing the Frostbite 5 miler and I said I would too. This gave me a purpose. I would go to the gym and run exactly 5 miles on the treadmill. The goal for me was always 6 minute miles. Some days I would be under it by about 30 seconds and others I’d struggle to hit it on the nose. This past week I hit the 29 minute mark and I knew I was ready to race.
My pre race routine is standard to me but I have no idea how others act. I googled “what to eat before a race” and got results to avoid coffee, don’t eat too much in a sitting, and random specifics on what works for that person. I said fuck it and ordered Domino’s Cali Ranch Pizza. I ate 4 slices and went to sleep at 12am after watching Butterfly Effect.
I woke up at 6am in a weird state and realized I was running today. I shit and showered. I then went to Dunkin Donuts and got a medium coffee and a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese. I ate the bagel (except for the middle because they spread too much cream cheese there) and drank the coffee slowly. I arrived 27 minutes later to my parents house and had to take another poop. Perfect. I lightened my load and talked with Sam before having to poop yet again. Even better.
Any runner knows you poop out as much waste as possible to run good times. I took a water bottle and drove to the race. I met up with some people I know and then went for a pre-race jog. I did 800 meters on the track which to me is more than I want to do. My legs only have so much mileage and I don’t want to waste it warming up.
I met Sam and the eventual race winner at the starting line and was happy how warm it was. The race started and Sam and I were together. He said people were going out too fast and made a nice call that that bro with headphones and hair would fall. The 1 mile split was 5:20 and the 2 mile 10:50. Sam left me at this point. I’ve been in this place in previous years. The drawn out hill at the 2 mile mark was an awakening that I trained on a treadmill. Huffing and puffing, I made it up to subtle downhill. I didn’t get a clock on mile 3 or 4 but I had a feeling I hadn’t dropped off pace that much. At 4 I got a side stitch and that was fairly severe. On the treadmill I never pushed myself past the point of exhaustion. Fortunately I had speed in my legs and didn’t let the cramp knock me back to bad. I even, barely, kicked it in for a time of 28:39 and good for 19th place. Sam was 12th.
At 32, it’s still fun to race. I like challenging myself and realizing that age is only a number, not an excuse. With a greater effort I could probably get to 28:00 minutes but what’s the difference? I trained about 20 miles a week and ran a time that was faster than I did at 28. As Sam would say, “I’m a one trick pony.” I’m ok with that.