But the 5k.
5ks hurt. When I push it, when I get ugly early (one of my mantras- get ugly early- in other words, push myself early in the race, and push enough that if anyone were taking pictures, they'd all be race face at its finest), 5ks are painful from about 60 seconds in until the end.
Well, today, I pushed from the start. I bolted out at the beginning, and then forced my legs to go at a consistent, difficult pace.
The course is about .25 miles on road, then turns into a gravel-ish path. It's crushed old pavement, but it really needs another layer or four. In areas, it's not much more than rutted dirt with a few random, palm-sized pieces of a formal road. I have consistently run it about a minute slower than I run on roads (Grissom PR was 24:47 while my road PR is 23:48). Today, Zac, the coach/friend, told me it was muddy, squishy, and somehow still had snow and ice despite the last few warm days. "It's not in PR shape" were his exact words.
That's all I needed.
That's why I pushed from the start.
7:51 mile. Not bad, considering the mud. The squelching. The soft ground that seems to suck you down rather than letting you spring off. And the wind. Did I mention the wind? I have never ran at Grissom without their being at least sustained 10 mph winds, and today's were in the teens and low twenties.
The second mile runs along the fence by the airfield, and is the windiest. Somehow, the wind is always in your face. You run west first, and it's in your face. Then you turn north, and it's still in your face. Then you turn east, and have a brief reprieve between a few pine trees for about a hundred feet before coming to another open area and, you guessed it, the wind is in your face. It's the Grissom wind vortex, or something.
My second mile clicked off in 7:59. Ok, hanging in there. From this point I just tried to keep hanging on.
The route heads back to the first L shape of the course and reverses it, and the normally circles the fitness center. There is construction going on, though, so today we had to follow the blue line through a parking lot. I hate that blue line. But I started rounding it, and by now, I was wheezing. Like full-blown asthma, scary-to-bystanders wheezing with every inhale. Wheezing so loudly I didn't hear my garmin click off another mile (8:09). My face must have looked terrible because Zac asked if I was ok as I approached the finish BEFORE he called out time.
I was so happy to be done! The two guys who finished before also asked if I was ok, and I gave some sort of vague hand gesture while I walked with my hands over my head. It took a few minutes to regain full composure, but I was ecstatic once I realized- I had run my best time on that course!!!
Woohoo! That makes me wish I had a road 5k coming up to see if I could PR there, too!
Tonight, I hurt. My legs hurt, my lungs reeeeeaaallly hurt. But I am happy with the hurt. I worked for that time. I conquered, despite soft ground, mud, snow, ice, wind. I gave it everything I could, and I can sit here proud of my run today. No one, not even Zac, thought there would be PRs today. I love when people doubt- it's just the fuel I need!
If you made it this far, congrats! Sorry I had no pictures.
What fuels your best runs? This is the second time I've PR'd during a 5k when someone specifically said the conditions were not favorable for PRs. :) That's just how I am.