It was the best of runs, it was the worst of runs, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the spring of sprinting, it was the autumn of unmet expectations.
We had 5 kilometers before us, we had no one behind us.
It was the 5-K of my fantasy, it was the race of my regret.
Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), in the last month or so I have run two 5-K's.
And they were both Very different.
The first one, I looked at as nothing but a warm-up for getting ready to reach my running Goals .
And, when it was over, I was fairly shocked that I accidentally reached my first goal.
I didn't even look at my time the entire race, just at my heart rate, and I broke 21 minutes.
Sweet! The fat old dad still has legs! I proudly thought to myself.
For the next 5-K, my kids decided to get up before 5 AM for the entire week or so before the race, and I was basically exhausted before I even got to the start line. I ran hard, but it was a very hilly course, and then my Heart Rate Monitor malfunctioned, and I ended up way slower.
In the last half of the race, I traded places multiple times with a kid who looked like he was born when I was in college (and he probably was). Finally, I thought I had him, couldn't see him, then out of nowhere he blazed past me in the last 200 meters and I had nothing left in my 3.7 decade old legs. He beat me.
But, I actually got a 9th place medal! If that sounds like a joke, well, I guess it sort of is, but it's also true. (Hey, they don't have age group medals here like they do in the USA, so I look at it as an age group victory!) How's that for rationalization?!?
And, most importantly, over the course of preparing for and running these races, I learned (or was really reminded) of some things:
5. Racing really is great motivation to exercise regularly. (Online race times are as close to eternal as you can get on earth)
4. A Heart Rate Monitor (when it works and when used right) is super helpful for non-elite runners like moi.
3. An Mp3 player really helps you forget how much it hurts.
2. Making coffee the night before, and putting it in a disposable water bottle with a bit of milk for the night in the fridge makes for a great cold caffeine shot in the AM that I can take with me to drink before the race.
and, #1: The kids think daddy is cool when he runs races.