This morning was the Firecracker Fast 5k that is held by the running store where I bought my shoes, Fleet Feet Easy Runner. I was nervous about registering for it, because it was described as a mostly downhill course. I've always heard it's easier to injure yourself running downhill. Plus, being a "fast" race, I was worried about having some amazing PR that I'll never beat. But I wanted to run a race and pickings are slim this time of year.
Since it's July, and usually disgustingly hot, the race started at 7:30am. However, the weather has been really mild this week. I opened the door this morning and it was actually chilly outside. Awesome! It was a bit warmer by the time we got there, just perfect. Not warm, not cold.
Off topic, but I realized today that my collar bones are starting to become visible. So freaking awesome! I don't remember the last time I saw those things.
As usual, my sister joined me. She almost didn't, though. She had a car accident a few weeks ago, and had some bruised ribs. She's had a hard time running since, but she decided to give it a go. She was worried about being the only one walking parts of the course, but she had nothing to worry about. Even a "fast" 5k has walkers. She told me not to hold myself back to keep pace with her and I didn't. We were together until the first real downhill part and I left her behind then.
I haven't had a whole lot of experience running downhill. But this is what I have learned: It's kind of like riding a motorcycle, you have to lean into the curves (or the hill in this case). You want to right yourself when you start to tilt, but you just need to embrace the tilt. My first reaction to running downhill is to lean back a little, because I feel like I'm pitching forward and afraid I'll fall on my face if I go to fast. It makes the footfalls feel really jarring to me. But if I just let myself lean forward like my body wants to, I don't feel so jarred and it's a lot more fun.
There were some pretty steep downhill parts. But they forgot to mention that most of the last half mile is uphill. I got halfway up and had a stitch in my side and a pain in my upper right chest. I thought "Oh crap! I joked about this race killing me because I've been such a slacker, and now I'm really going to die!" But walking for a few minutes helped and I was able to actually run to the finish. I think it was a breathing thing, not a heart thing... I never felt BAD, and it went away as soon as my breathing slowed.
My official time was 40:05. That is almost 5 minutes faster than my last 5k. I don't think it's fast enough to discourage me - I'm not thinking "Oh no! I'll never beat that PR!" I think with enough work, I could beat it eventually on a normal race. It will take some time, but I can do it. It gives me a good goal.
My sister did really well, too. She was only a few minutes behind me, which is awesome, all things considered.
The race was a point-to-point race, instead of a loop. So we could either walk back to the start where we parked, or take a trolley. We decided walking uphill 3.1 miles back to the start was too much, so we waited for the trolley.
We didn't make it on the first round, and started to wait for the second round. After 20 minutes, we decided to just walk. It was just taking way too long and I, personally, had no desire to be packed like that into a trolley with that many sweaty people.
We used the GPS on the phone to shortcut through a neighborhood, so we actually only had to walk 1.6 miles back to the van. =) Uphill, yes, but only about half the distance.
Oh, and they posted a finish line video on their Facebook feed today. Yeah, I didn't need that confirmation of how ridiculous I look running....
Next up will probably be the Ranch Run 5k on August 3, and I don't think my sister is doing that. Not only is it about a 45 minute drive away, it starts at 6am. Yeah. 6am. I haven't registered yet, but I do plan on it. I have to work these things into the budget. Being a runner isn't cheap.