This morning Clayton and I woke up nice and early for a 5k at our local zoo. I “accidentally” waited until last night to inform him it was a 7:30 a.m. start, not 8 a.m. Oopsies, we already paid! My bad, Dollface.
Unreasonably, I decided to shoot for a PR/check off an item on my Under 30 wish list, despite a serious lapse in training. Meaning I did not train. I know better than to assume I’ll push myself to a PR effort, especially going Garmin-less; I absolutely will not. So my secret weapon in this run was Clayton’s snobby athletic superiority and his claim that I can “definitely” go faster if I try harder. I’m still not quite as convinced as he is, but if he’s next to me or, better yet, a few steps ahead, at least I’ll definitely move quicker than normal just to shut him up.
The race probably started earlier to beat the heat and humidity. In theory, anyway. To actually beat the humidity it would have to start in Rhode Island. The race started about 10 minutes late. Not the way to the heart of Floridians already drenched in sweat walking from their cars to the start line. Even that little window allowed the humidity to climb from miserable to haha why are you idiots outside in running clothes.
My sister in law was on Addie duty, and the four of us had just moseyed on down near the start, fake stretching and ignoring that feeling of having to pee a sixth time, when all of a sudden the big crowd of people surged forward. I didn’t hear an announcement or gun. Just a rush of hot air whooshing by and a sudden moment of panic that the world was ending because we missed the start! Yeah, the world wasn’t ending. We just walked like four steps and got in the middle of the pack. Sometimes I’m a stickler for rules.
The course was pretty narrow for the number of runners, and I missed most of the view of the Hillsborough River dodging people in front of me. Running through the zoo may have been cool for people without annual passes that don’t go once a week, but Mama has seen that same monkey 15 times and would love for you to not stop abruptly to look at it. Again, very narrow with LOTS of zigzagging.
I was struggling at the end. It was muggy and we were running through a boring parking lot. Clayton somehow talked me into booking it the last 0.1 mile. Bad. Idea. I ran through the finish (picking off Miss “pink visor” that Clayton kept pointing out as our target, might I add), slowed for about 1/8 of a second in an attempt to have my shoe timing chip cut off, and realized things were about to get real up in that zoo. And also up in my throat. I jerked my foot away from the kind and understanding race worker and jello-walked to a cluster of bushes right next to the finish line. I then proceeded to complete about four cycles of dry heaving/pacing back and forth behind a stranger’s car. I may never reach that level of attractiveness ever again.
I heard the race worker tell Clayton two more times that he “needed” my race chip. Dude, you NEED me to not puke on your crisp, orange, zoo-issued polo. I assure you that is your most pressing need right now. It was both mortifying (it’s not like I busted out 6 minute miles…talking to you, GI system) and gratifying to experience that running rite of passage. Would I have preferred to experience it alone, hunched over foliage in my own yard? Sure, but where’s the fun/blog entry in that?
You see where I’m going with this, yes? Leading with all the excuses so that the big let down at the end seems expected and justified.
Oh, and I have exercise-induced asthma.
And I didn’t properly warm up.
While I did technically PR (as a Noa; who knows what those college 5k times were, before I discovered brown ales and hosted another human in my loins), I didn’t hit my goal time. By 25 seconds. That doesn’t sting at all. I made a fake-puking, chip-stealing loon out of myself to miss my goal by 25 seconds.
I’m still pumped to have broken a 10 minute/mile pace without really running beforehand. Certainly not impressing anyone, but it just sounds so much faster to me for some reason. And when scrolling through the results, I’ll be honest: it was thrilling to see my name before the pace number jumped to double digits. I hate talking about times because I know I’m slow, but dang it, I’m not the slowest!
Once I could see and stand straight, I turned over my apparently invaluable timing chip and waited as my husband grabbed every free item at the post-race party. Granola bars for toddlers even though we don’t have a toddler? You bet! Tiny packets of strange spreadable sunflower butter? Pack it up! Gargantuan moldy oranges that have no place to be stored in our fully loaded stroller? Two, please!
We met up with my sister in law and Addison for some necessary photo ops with livestock and an abbreviated tour of the zoo, mainly just to see the baby elephants. I wasn’t crying when they locked trunks in sweet baby elephant love, they kicked up dust in the air, I swear.