I spent most of last night laying awake in bed listening to the screaming winds push my Adirondack chairs back and forth on my balcony like it was a ship rocking in a storm. I watched the clock delaying the time I would have to get up to bring the chairs in to rescue the cars below. I probably only slept for about 4 hours partly because the wind kept me up, and partly because it was race day. The Weather Network was left open on my laptop; I refreshed it more times than I could count as if that would somehow stop The Perfect Storm outside.
Once I got up, I had my usual breakfast and put on everything I had laid out the night before, like the first day of school. Not feeling too nervous, I decided to take a cab instead of a bus because I wanted to stay as dry as possible (and yes at the time I thought this might be possible). I arrived to a scene of runners huddled under umbrellas and tents, and spectators looking like they were all dragged out of their cozy beds against their will. The turn out was still really good, it was just lacking the energy that good weather brings out in people.
The race started smoothly and I felt really good. The first kilometre was a herd of women jockeying for position on a narrow bike path while sidestepping deep puddles and slippery leaves. When I saw the first kilometre marker, I felt relaxed, I had a good position, but I was 30 seconds behind pace. This wasn’t the time to panic yet because I consistently run the second half faster. It was on my mind, though. I pushed on and I ran at the pace I had planned on for the next 3km.
At the 4km mark, my watch read 20:39 and that first kilometre came back to haunt me. I ran to the finish by myself on a winding path that made it harder to try to pick off the women ahead. The headwind did not let up but neither did I. The finish line came and I crossed it vertical, and tired, but running. I still felt surprisingly strong, but finish line photos always make you second guess that you were more than half alive. I will report back after I see what state of contortion my face was in.
My chip time was 25:23 and although my initial reaction was frustration and disappointment, those have faded, and a runner’s high is all that is left. I did not reach my goal but I ran, and all things considered, I ran well. Now that I am back home, I am doing the next logical thing anyone would do; I am signing up for another 5km race.
My goal is still a 25 minute 5k, but now it feels like a quest. I haven’t reached it yet but I can taste it. And it tastes like rum and coke… wait no. That’s my celebratory rum and coke.