If you don’t know me, don’t know me well, or haven’t read any of my previous posts, I am going to admit something I don’t really like about myself: I’m a little bit glass half empty. I am not a pessimist, in fact I am quite idealistic, but I have trouble acknowledging and enjoying my accomplishments. I can just see my parents and boyfriend nodding their heads along with this. But that is not what I am referencing in the title of this post. Quite the opposite, in fact. What I am admitting is that, for the first time in all too long, I was proud of myself this weekend. Proud! I can barely believe it.
On Saturday morning, bright and early at 9am, my boyfriend, my mom and I ran a 5k race in Prospect Park. For my mom, this was her first race, and my boyfriend and my second. Fortunately, I seem to have gotten my nerves under control after the first race and was pretty calm and quite excited for this race. Once I got past waking up at 7am, that is. It was a gorgeously bright and sparkling day, if very chilly. After walking nearly a mile to get to our corral (which wasn’t the slowest one!), we waited, stretched, and people watched until the gun went off. I said goodbye to my company, wished them luck, and we were off. With the lulling sounds of the NPR presenters humming in my ears, I worked my muscles as hard as they could pump. I knew that the race started with a long, fairly hard uphill, and then would have a lot of downhill in the second mile-and-a-half. Because of that, and because I am now very comfortable and confident with the 3.1 mile distance, I went hard out of the gate. I am not sure that was necessarily the smartest thing, because I certainly struggled with the unexpected hills later in the race, but I do think it paid off. I flew down the hills, panted and puffed up them, and kept a good pace on the straightaways. Every time I passed the mile markers, I was surprised at the time. I forgot, for the second time, to note what time I started (when you’re in the back you don’t start with the clock at 0:00, so if you want to see your first mile split, you have to look at the time when you cross the starting line). Between miles one and two, however, I noticed that I was under ten minutes. Somehow (see paragraph 1), I managed to convince myself that wasn’t true. But the clock at mile three showed a similar result. What!? To get to that last mile marker, I struggled up a hill, thinking my thigh muscles were going to give up at any minute. They didn’t and I was able to turn it up just slightly for the last 1/10 of a mile.
Surprisingly, my mom was already there when I was done. She had finished a few seconds ahead of me and was, similarly, exhausted and resting on the sidewalk. We found Peter, bagel in hand, had our timing chips cut off our shoes and began the very long, very very cold walk back to the subway. (Oh Brooklyn! Why do you not have cabs at the wave of my arm?) At home, my mom sipped tea, Peter showered, and I checked the results. Now, a bit of a reminder. In my first race, I ran a 10:41 mile on average, and I generally train at that speed or an 11 minute mile. This is what I saw on the results page:
SHERMAN ELISABETH F24 5442 29:45 9:35 49.7%
The number you need to see there is the fourth from the right. 9:35! Did you see that? Rub your eyes and look again…NINE THIRTY FIVE!! I seriously couldn’t believe it. On top of that, my mom ran a 9:23 and my boyfriend a 9:03! I was so proud of us and, despite complete exhaustion, I believe that, for the rest of the day, I experienced my first, true “runner’s high.”
I may be starting to understand why people like this…