Tuesday, August 28

Running around "The Square"

Saturday morning, despite the orange level air quality warning for the area, I ran. Yes, for the first time in two weeks. (Thanks, asthma.) I'm so glad I didn't back out of the race. It was a blast and I know that I'll be running this one again. 

There's a lovely little neighborhood in Pittsburgh called Regent Square. It has some of my favorite restaurants and the atmosphere is very friendly. The amicable spirit was wholeheartedly translated into what is possibly the most enjoyable 5k I've ever run. It's the Run Around the Square, and this year was the 30th annual event. (The anniversary really meant that we got awesome tech shirts and sweet medals for finishing, among the other perks like the huge celebration at the end of the course!)

When we were weaving through the brick-laid streets, the route was lined with neighborhood folks cheering for us. Some people even set up their own impromptu water stations. Given how warm it got so early in the morning, the extra water was dearly appreciated!

Later on, when the race path drew us into Frick Park, there were musicians playing various upbeat tunes for us. We were serenaded by a young violinist, a talented preteen cellist, a pianist, a saxophone player, and a tuba. These kind people were spaced throughout the woods, near the tennis courts, and along some of the more challenging areas of the course--namely, the hill at the end of the second mile...

Locals had signs for us, encouraging us to keep going, push onward, "It's just a hill... Get over it!" They were delightful. I couldn't help myself. I yelled, "Thank you!" to every person I could as we swiftly passed.

My goal upon starting was just to finish. My asthma has been so debilitating over the last few weeks that I just wanted to complete the race. Once I started, I felt pretty good. I had my inhaler with me, so I decided that my goal was to finish in less than 36 minutes (that would put me at a 12 minute mile, and that would be the slowest I've ever run). When I got to mile one in 10'30", I decided that this was a good goal.

Mile two was the toughest. Sadly, I walked most of it and my second mile came in at just over 13'00". Disappointing. But I am grateful that I didn't have to stop altogether.

The last mile was mostly downhill, which helped for sure, but I still needed to push myself forward. I'm not thrilled with my race time, but it is decent considering the challenge of not breathing so well... I finished at 34'50".  It's my worst race time to date, but I'm trying to think of this as a baseline for what I can run when I'm at my worst... With this in mind, I should always be able to beat this time at the very least, and hopefully I'll crush it during another upcoming race.

This was my fifth 5k of the year. I've completed a race for each month from April to August. I have a 10k at the end of September, so I need to get in gear for that. Mostly, I think my nutrition is in need of a revamp, but I know I need to practice running longer distances (and downhill). Any advice?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karissa,
    Lots of protein and fruits/veggies :) ... Someone once told me that going downhill is a good time to pick up lost time by loosening your arms and opening up your stride (while being careful still because can be dangerous for the ankles)-- do you remember the ballet move "releves" going on top of your toes OR tapping using the balls of your feet? it's a good warm up exercise to strengthen your ankles... Also doing high knees or kicking your own butt with your foot can help with building stamina for longer races.
    good luck!
    Mike D.


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