Monday, December 17

The Weak, Sick, Less-Than-Awesome 5k

I learned a lot by running in Saturday's race. Sadly, most of it was learned in pain or discomfort.

Having had the flu earlier in the week, I had gotten myself well enough that I went to work on Thursday and Friday. (Surpassing "human" after feeling so violently ill earlier in the week was a significant victory for me and my immune system.) Surely, I thought, this meant that I was well enough to go run on Saturday.

No, not really. Big difference between going to work and running a 5k. On a scale of awful to fantastic, I was at "well enough to go to work." I had not yet reached "well enough to run." But ran I did.

The first kilometer wasn't bad. It was in the low 40s that morning (the race started after 10 a.m.), so my lungs were a little chilled, but I had done a decent warm-up, so I felt good about how I was breathing. I had taken both my inhalers too. I was good to go.

Unfortunately, my knee started to hurt a little. Enough to bug me to slow down. So I slowed down. And then my gut started complaining. Ugh. So I walked a little. When I started running again, the air felt different and I began breathing erratically. I took my inhaler to try to nip an asthma attack in the bud. I kept going. My friend stuck by me (she's awesome) and we ran on.

When I started feeling nauseous, the race felt interminable. I knew then that I wasn't well enough to run. (Who doesn't love hindsight?? Argh.) The goal became to just finish the race.

There were still people behind us, so my mental game was at bay. Thank goodness. One thing was going right.

We ran, slowed down, ran, walked, ran, slowed down... in a pattern until we sprinted for the finish line. I always want a strong finish. It feels good. After that, though, I needed to sit down with a bottle of water and I really, really needed something warmer to wear.

I wasn't thrilled with my time--37:27--but having had the flu and having not run for three weeks since I had a knee injury, I think I did okay.

It wasn't my intent to just go cold into running the race. Last week I had wanted to do a few easy runs a few days during the week to see how my knee felt and make sure I was stretched and ready. But with the flu, there was no way to do that. So the lessons learned are as follows: 1) don't rush to return from illness, 2) try to gauge how well you feel by being active before the day of the race, 3) don't return from an injury and an illness at the same time (ever).

This was the last race of 2012 for me. My next race with be on New Year's Day! I'll recap my 2012 racing season in another post, but I'm really excited that I completed this race. It wasn't easy because I wasn't well, but I finished.

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