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A New Personal Record!

20 February 2017

I have never really been a 5km racer. Even though track and field athletes consider it “long distance” it’s not what I think of when I think of an endurance event. And thinking of myself as a “recreational endurance athlete” has become a somewhat important part of my identity in sobriety. I can do hard things that were once completely beyond me. I can go run for 2, 3, 4, 5 hours at a time. Hopefully, by the fall, I will be able to complete a 70.3 mile long triathlon.

But 5km is a long way to run any way you slice it. 3.1 miles is no little walk in the park. It’s a real distance. It’s to work and back and then some for me. When I’m doing training runs, it takes me around half an hour. Running for 30 minutes is a long time. Even for someone who has run for five hours. A half-an-hour run is a long run. It definitely counts. 5km is an accomplishment.

So BB and I went out to a 5km race about 30 miles into the suburbs of ECC, at a nice highschool in a pretty little town. The course was a very-slightly-more than one-mile loop. According to my GPS watch it was a tiny bit short. Maybe 140 yards. But maybe not. GPS is always a bit off from device to device, and if mine shaved corners or the person laying out the course didn’t run tangents very well, then it could be a legit distance.

It was a serpentine course around the various buildings of the high school, and had a little hill on the back side for about 36 feet of elevation gain. Doing it three times meant the overall hill height was a bit over 100 feet. I went out fast, ran hard, and finished the first mile in 7:36. That is pretty close to the fastest mile I’ve ever run. Back when I used my phone for GPS, it thinks I ran a 7:26 once. But it reads long.

I had to slow some for the next two miles, because I’m not in good enough shape to hold up that pace for three straight. I dropped back to 8:10 for the second mile and 8:06 for the third. My heart rate jumped all the way to 192 by the end of the race, which is about 14 bpm higher than the doctors say is my “maximum”. So I was working really hard.

But I crossed the line in what the timing chip said was 23:59! Even if the course was 140 yards short, that would put me at 24:37 or so which would still be a PR (my old PR was 24:39).

I can’t begin to relate my disbelief that I can run five kilometers in 24 minutes. That’s so far from anything I could fathom only a few years ago that it still doesn’t make any real sense. But I can still be humble: there was a 9yo girl running the race whom I beat by only about 45 seconds. BB had a great race too, finishing in about 25:21. It was, all around, a great morning. And I’m grateful I can do this, I have a partner to do it with, and a life where I’ve learned to value healthy things.

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