|I can never get away with anything...|
(Thanks, Kim - You Rock!)
So, the week was varied, and pleasant. Over the weekend Bike Guy , Fit-Sis, CAF Chap (my brother-in-law, who is a wheelchair racer with the Challenged Athlete's Foundation), and I went to Carlsbad for the Carlsbad 5000, a 5K (3.1 miles) run. A long, long time ago, I decided I wanted to do a 5K, and BG and I went down to Carlsbad. To this day, I can’t remember why I chose one so far away, but I’m glad I did, because it's so pretty there. All I know for sure is that I was a lot younger then. The race seems to be set up so that older you are, the earlier your race time is. The first time, my race was somewhere around 11:00. Now, at 50, my race is usually sometime before 8:00. Nothing like a 5K start time to point out how much you’ve aged!
That first time, I was SO pumped about doing my first race. Then, as we drove toward Carlsbad, it got darker and darker, and there was hail on the road. But, at the beginning of the race, it seemed clear enough. As I started running, though, it started to, you guessed it - HAIL! Oh jeez… Luckily, I didn’t wear glasses at that time, and was wearing a baseball cap, but it was still pretty miserable. I had to stop three times to tie my shoe, which kept, quite weirdly, coming untied. Other than that I didn’t stop at all until, at some point, I became so tired I stopped to walk just a bit. Not so bad, right? That’s when I realized we were turning the final corner, and the rest of the race to the finish line was very short, and completely downhill. So I got on it, and ran my heart out, to the finish. The. Best. Day. Ever!
After that stellar beginning, we started going down to Carlsbad every year. We started spending the night, as we got older, and my times got earlier. At some point, BG started running in the race too, just for fun. Then, Fit-Sis and CAF Chap started coming along, and CAF Chap entered in the Wheelchair Invitational. It became a great event for all of us. Somewhere along the way, I lost my focus and stopped running altogether, and started doing just the 5K walk. Still in the game, though! Fast Forward to this year, when I walked again. But mostly to watch CAF Chap and the Elite Runners do their thing. But that was about it. No organized race for me this year. Not sure what exactly happened there…
But, never fear! All was not lost in Exercise Land. Later that day we ended up going on a 10-mile bike ride down the coast. The ride consisted of BG, Fit-Sis and me. Fit-Sis has a way-cool beach cruiser, which has 3 speeds. I thought this might give me a fighting chance, since my bike is a bit lighter, and has 24 speeds. Originally, I was encouraging her to get a bike like mine, but now I am thinking better of it! We decided to go 5 miles, and then turn back. Lucky that we chose to do it that way because, while the ride down was Way Fun, with a few hills, I kept having that sinking feeling that it was too good to be true. It took us 30 minutes to get there, and 45 to get back. The ride back was, well Way Not Fun. The wind was not with us At All. Riding right into the wind can be quite a bummer. Funny, it’s like one of those evil secrets that no one will talk about. Hills are not really the biggest trouble you have on a bike. Wind. Now that is a situation to be reckoned with.
Later in the week, just after getting last week’s post out (the one that discussed food), BG and I went to the grocery store. As we were heading up the street, I mentioned that I needed to get in touch with Trainer David, to get my strength-training regimen started. We then went in to Fresh and Easy, and I went through the aisles, picking up, among other things, fruit, broccoli, spinach, and sprouted grain bread (no kidding). I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Then we rounded a corner, and I saw some organic chocolate chip cookies. BG and I were looking at them and who should walk past but Trainer David. We said hello, and I introduced him to BG. That’s when I realized I was still holding the box of cookies. I was, quite literally, caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Sure, it was an organic cookie jar, but still… I tried saying “These aren’t my cookies. Honest.” Yeah. I’m guessing he wasn’t buying that…
On Thursday, Walking Friend and I had a nice walk, and then on Saturday, I did a 5k. Even though I passed on participation at Carlsbad, I’d been wanting to run a 5K for some time, knowing full well that my time would Stink on Ice. (Are the kids still saying that these days??) So, the Santa Anita Derby Day 5K came around, 5-minute commute and all, and it seemed like a great opportunity. It's really a beautiful course. I wanted to run as much of it as I could as a baseline, and then do it again next year, to see if I get better at it. Good plan, huh? Well, I forgot just how miserable running can be, if you are not a runner! First, my Gu failed me. Or rather, I failed my Gu. I took it just before the race began and, worried that 3.1 miles might be a long time without a bathroom break, I skipped the water. Turns out that it really doesn’t work if you don’t follow the directions (imagine that!), which recommend 8 oz. of water. Instead, it sits in the bottom of your stomach, like a (in this case) mandarin-orange-flavored brick.
So, the bugle went off, and off we trotted, across the parking lot of the Arcadia mall. My plan was to run from the start line (in the mall parking lot) to the place where the race crosses Baldwin. Well, between the fact that the start line had moved back (away from Baldwin) since last time I did the race, and the presence of a mandarin-orange brick in my stomach, I knew I wasn’t going to make it that far. So, Plan B involved running until I saw other people starting to walk. I did make it that far, and for that I am proud! So, for the next 3 miles or so, I ran, then walked, then ran again. And so forth… Naturally, my walking muscle problem reared its ugly head for a time, since the race is very flat, but the running helped that a lot.
There was one moment, at about the halfway mark, where I was running (for lack of a better term) through the Arboretum. As I ran across a bridge, the weather seemed perfect, I felt warmed up (and pain-free), and I’m sure I heard a bird chirping somewhere in the background. Sadly, that moment lasted a maximum of 30 seconds. BUT, I consider it a minor victory that the moment occurred at all. My theory is that as I keep at it, I can stretch the moment out, until I’m having more fun. More than 30 seconds worth, at least. Victory #2 was that I didn’t throw up. And really, what more can you ask for?
The race finished on the Santa Anita race track (so cool!), where you get to “run like a racehorse.” (That's what it says on the shirts they give you, and someone who saw my shirt thought it said “pee like a racehorse.” I know it would be wildly inappropriate, but I’ll bet they’d get an even bigger turnout if they put that on the shirts.) After the race, as we were funneled through the freebies-and-bananas line, I ran into my friend Game Girl (who is always game to try new activities). She was excited, because she had just completed her very first 5K. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and I am planning to do another race at the end of May. Now, I just need to stretch that one, fun moment out for longer. I’d settle for two minutes this time around. And the not-throwing-up part. I’d like to keep that going too.
Lessons learned this week include the following: 1) Perseverance is important; and 2) If you try to sneak cookies into your grocery cart, you will get caught.
~~ Energy and persistence conquer all things.