Friday, August 08, 2008

Elvis Is Alive

Finally I got in a run that actually resembled running.
My running buddy Sara encouraged me to jump into the annual Elvis Is Alive 5k race Thursday night on the Lakefront here in the Windy City.

The race is sponsored by Fleet Feet one of the major running stores here and it is a lot of fun what with the Elvis impersonators and all, but I decided to try to be myself, despite whatever consequences that might bring.

I haven't had a good refreshing run in over a year and have really battled trying to get back in shape after my setback last summer. It's been very discouraging and frankly big, big valleys of depression have been knocking me on my ass.

Well Elvis Is Alive and I'm back dammit!

Sara is a new runner, full of piss and vinegar and she is built for speed. She has those long lean legs, graceful efficient stride and tiny upper body (don't tell her I wrote this), no woman wants a tiny upper ya know but we all have to play with the hand we're delt.

I met her over a year ago when she was getting started in this running game and we became fast friends, at least she is fast and hopefully I can continue to be a friend.

She is in great shape and I am not but she told me she would run, trot, walk or whatever with me, which is nice but it still embarasses me that I can't do what I think I can do. Ya know, the old mind is willing but body is weak? Oh hell, let's don't go there.

We posted up near the back of the pack and it was quite a pack. Lots of wacky runners on a narrow concrete path so staying upright was goal number one and try to run a little was goal number two.

Mile One:
11:03 min, not fast but faster than the 12 min pace I've been trying to run this summer. My pacing and judgment are off too because the really slow training runs have been taxing me and frankly confusing and frustrating me. Sara, bless her little pea picking heart that must have a built in metronome, was calling our pace WITHOUT A FREAKIN WATCH! How does she do that being such a new runner and all?

Mile Two:
I'm prepared to bonk or slow down but it doesn't happen, we pick up the pace a little and hit the one aid station so decide to grab a gatorade and chat for a couple of minutes as we ambled along, naturally wasting valuable time, oh sure! Time talking with a fellow runner is gold to me.
We hit the two mile marker at 11:54 pace. Now it's getting interesting because we must have walked 2 minutes and walked really slow and I'm under 12 minute pace so I'm really prepared do die during the last mile...but for whatever reason...I don't die...I actually start to run a bit.

Mile Three:
I'm in a pretty good lather now and my legs are feeling great, I push out a little more with minimal effort and know I'm going faster but not sure how much because as I mentioned I'm really screwed up with my running, pacing and judgement.
We approach the three mile marker and Sara says "ten thirty" and my little watch says 10:33. Pretty damned close and I'm psyched as hell.

I'm not bonking the last mile but, in a throwback to the good ol days, I'm accelerating and feeling like I actually can run. What a great feeling! And we talked all the way through that last mile although my sentences were getting a bit shorter as the breathing began to pick up tempo.

Time for my first actual race in my new life, my little Elvis 5k, a blistering 34:33 or 11:07 pace.

Way slower than my PR of 24:20 but way faster than my 5k New Year's morning this year of something like 40 minutes.

Why am I feeling good about myself because I ran 3.1 miles and ran the last mile faster than the first two and knew I had more in me? Damned if I know, and I don't care, I just know that I feel good about myself today.

And I hope you're feeling good about you!