Fight for Air Race Report

Nothing keeps me motivated more than entering a race and after three weeks of highly active vacationing and long work days with no end in sight, I desperately needed motivation.  Enter the Fight for Air 5K benefitting the American Lung Association.  The brightly colored flyer hanging over coffee fixings at a random Starbucks I was refueling at caught my attention immediately.  The race was a little more than a week away:  close enough that it would push me out the door and onto the trail but just far enough away that I could make some progress and get caught up a bit.  Perfect.

Sure, I ran a little.  I even went to the gym a couple times.  But when the alarm went off for the fifth time and it took every ounce of energy to just sit up in bed I decided to take it easy.  Nice and easy.  It’s just a 5K.  I run 3-4 miles most days.  No big deal.  And then I realized I only had ten minutes to get out the door.  In a flurry of blankets, pillows and terriers I shot out of bed and set about making my fastest exit from the house in years.  I made it out of the house on time but forgot two very important things:  breakfast and my heart rate monitor.

Instead of my favorite pre-race breakfast of a tasty protein smoothie I treated myself to my favorite pre-flyball breakfast of a spinach feta wrap and an iced non-fat latte from Starbucks.  I could live without the HRM, but I couldn’t live without eating.  It wasn’t the ideal breakfast for running but it has gotten me through many, many long and physically demanding days of flyball plus it tastes good.  I devoured my wrap as I drove (sped) to the south end of Reno.

It turns out I could have actually taken my time.  Checking in took all of two minutes and they had plenty of really nice race T’s available in my size (MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM!).  I had plenty of time to catch up with Kate, check out the expo and watch the half marathoner’s start.  I was so tired and hacking up a lung courtesy of my newly rediscovered sagebrush allergy, I didn’t even bother to warm up.  I bounced a little.  I might have attempted to stretch, but mostly I just wanted to chill out and chat.  I was about as lazy and self indulgent as I could be.  I had every intention of running, but I had no intention of actually pushing.  I just wanted to put in a good work out and hang out with my peeps.

Kate and I situated ourselves in the middle of the pack at the start line.  We were joined by another runner who was new to 5Ks and hoped to pace around 11-12 minutes with us.  It turned out to be a good place to be because when the horn sounded, we neither had to get out of the way of the faster runners behind us but we also weren’t immediately having to pass people in front of us.  In fact, we were moving along at a nice, sustainable pace.

Running is a funny thing.  I love to run but I hate to run.  I spend most of the first mile arguing with myself about why exactly I do this.  It’s not a polite debate either but rather one of those back ally brawls behind the bar after a dozen beers sort of arguments.  Then miraculously at around the first mile marker, I am energized, happy and cheering myself on because I really do love to run.  I am not alone in this.  Don’t deny it.  But this race proved to be rather interesting because I didn’t argue with myself at all.  I wasn’t jumping for joy but I was mildly surprised to admit to myself I felt pretty damned good-even meandering up a small hill which previously would have sparked World War III in my head (it’s a good thing no one could hear what I was thinking on that hill in Oban.  Just saying!).

In fact, the pace felt so comfortably I was thoroughly surprised when I suddenly found myself at the three mile marker and realized looking at the timing clock down below that I was on pace to set a personal best.  At this point I did push just a wee bit harder for good measure.  I mean, it would really suck to miss out on a new 5K PB because I was too lazy to actually run a little bit harder.  I cruised through at 33:58 seconds, pacing 10:55.  I even confirmed the distance on both Kate’s and my GPS units:  3.12 miles. I set a personal best without even trying?  The answer is:  Yes.  So now I am left to wonder what that time might actually have been had I mustered up some motivation and actually ran it like I meant it?  Yeah, it’s time to get my head back in the game.