Race #37 – The Puppy Run 5K

Another virtual race in the books!

I’d had a few question marks about putting this race on the schedule.  I had no idea how my knees and stamina would be this weekend after the Hospital Hill duals last week.  As it ends up, all the races this year have (apparently) made a difference, and my recovery seems quicker, even after abusing my feet and knees like I did last weekend.

Last night, I vowed I’d get up and run this morning.  Yesterday, I awoke early (5:30 or so), thought about running, and then rolled over and slept for THREE MORE HOURS.  Now, I believe that if your body sleeps, you probably needed it… but, gee whiz!  I wasn’t gonna let today slip away from me, and suffer from a lack of miles.

So 6am came around this morning, and after a slow wake up — and a couple of snuggles from Bailey — I got up, and started prepping.  Remember a few weeks ago that I’d mentioned treating virtual race days just like regular race days?  I’m still doing that, and it really puts the event ahead in perspective.  I guess it’s akin to pro athletes getting their game face on, physically and mentally preparing themselves for what’s to come.

Girded up in all my running armor (there’s a contradiction, eh?!), I stepped out into the sunlight… and found a icky, humid airmass out in the sunshine.  Shades of the Hospital Hill 5K.  Blecch!  I got going though, and while the air was tougher, I once again found the course to be moving beneath my feet, just like I was flying.  One kilometer, then two, and suddenly I was at the turnaround point.

That’s been the beauty of doing these races every weekend or so.  This was my sixteenth race of this year, and that frequent activity is making these races get easier and easier.  I’ve been bemoaning not finding more speed so far this year, but I think what I’ve found is even more important:  determination.  And that’s been key for running so many races already in 2015.

I’ve been asked why I would do these virtual races.  I know me, and setting a “collectible” goal out there hits my brain pretty well, and grabbing these finisher medals is kinda a Pokemon thing for me… gotta collect ’em all!  That’s what gets me out there, and getting out there is what’s important.  It’s healthier for me, and it gives me a tangible thing that I can chase after.  And given that there’s not always races around here I can get to, this keeps my feet on the pavement in between racing events.

And I know there’s a population of real runners out there who believe that a “finisher” medal isn’t worth having, advocating that the only medals worth having are those you win for placement in 1st, 2nd or 3rd.  That’s definitely an opinion.  It’s not mine.

Words to Live By
Words to Live By
You see, I do earn my medals.  I run the same miles, sometimes on the same courses, and my miles, although slower, are for the same distance as their medals.  I’d even wager that those of us “back of the pack” folks are probably putting together a bigger effort than the elite runners at the front.  They know they can do this, and quickly.  A 5K is like a sprint for some of these folks, finishing in less than twenty minutes.  For those of us who are moving a lot slower, and carrying many more years and pounds than the folks in the front, the determination to finish is higher, and beyond the sense of accomplishment in finishing, having that medal waiting at the end is a tangible result of our toil and sweat.

As one of the signs at Hospital Hill last weekend said, I’m not here to compete, I’m here to complete.

And that’s what’s kept me on the road this year.  And next weekend is the All-American 5K on Father’s Day.  I’ve never run this race before, but I’ve been led to believe that this is one of the fastest races in Da Lou, with a one-way, mostly downhill course.  Can’t wait to give it a shot!