Saturday, May 09, 2009

The joys of running

I went out this morning to run in the Capital City Classic, a 10k race in downtown Raleigh. It is my first race of the spring and I had low expectations.

First, let's just get the whining out of the way. I've only been running a month since taking off the entire winter, but this race is a wonderful opportunity. The beginning of May in Raleigh is gorgeous. The normal low is 53 and the race started at 8:30. Oops. The forecast high for today is 90. At race time, is was 77 degrees, bright sunshine, and 130% humidity. OK, I am not sure about the humidity but it had to be at least 100%. I don't think I ever got what would officially be considered heat stroke, but it has to feel something like what I felt.

My goal was to run at 8:30 miles, and sure enough, Mr. Goal-oriented did 8:28's. Not bad, not great. The best part was just getting back into the racing mentality.

I find that when I go to running races, I always bring home two distinct types of motivation. The first is the excitement of a race. Hundreds or thousands of runners gather. The jitters before the run. The sprint to the finish. The cheering for the runners finishing behind you. It makes the training runs worth it. Then there is the other motivation. Looking around at the other runners and realizing that you are still 20 pounds over a good running weight. Seeing them drop their chin to their knee to stretch. (I can touch my knee, but using my hand.) Running along, finally getting loosened up, only to realize that the winners are already finishing. Seeing a 65 year old who finished, got a drink, stopped by his car, and is cheering for you as you finish.

The good news is that both motivations work. Now I just need to keep piling up some base mileage so I can run all summer without injury. So far, so good.
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