5K time trial, part 2
Strava is becoming my enemy. The little black dots on my profile page calender seem to mock me. "Eight activities in the last four weeks" it reads. Crud.
Of course there is a good reason for this. But knowing that doesn't make my re-entry into training any less daunting. Just a few weeks ago I was running double digits- that seems totally out of the question now.
My worries have not been put at ease by the small runs I have been doing. Random leg cramps pop up, and I have to cut my short runs even shorter. My electrolytes will take a couple of weeks to bounce back from being ill, so I know that this is expected. Expected, but not easy.
All of these doubts crammed into my brain as I toed the start line on Tuesday for my team's second 5k time trial. We run a 5k in the start of the season, and then again mid-way to see how our fitness has improved, and if we should adjust goals.
It was my third run back, and I was going to take it easy. Push some effort into it, but chill. We warmed up, and bumped elbows pushing our way to the back of the pack not wanting to be in front.
And so we started. It was dark and humid, the ground wet with rain and leaves- and all of a sudden I was back to my very first 5K time trial, five years ago. On a similar night, where I could barely see my own shoes. With no one around me I felt free to get ugly- to breath loud and deep, even drool. To try hard. It was my first race ever, and I pushed it. I remember crossing the finish line, and thinking wow, I left it all out there. i can do this. It was the best night of running I've ever had. I felt full of potential.
So I followed that memory for awhile. I found myself mostly alone, in the dark, drooling. Breathing loudly, and getting ugly. I found a pace that was relaxed, but not without effort. I fell into a comfortable discomfort running up North Hill. Much slower than I've ever been, but just as happy. Trying just as hard.
I know it sounds negative, but I am seldom rewarded by training. I don't get faster, I get injured. I don't get stronger, I burn out. I usually never make it to race day. But then again, that is not why I train. I train because I enjoy it, and I do not pin expectations to that. I like being out here, whether or not I get better, and that's enough for me.
Which is why I did a double take when my coach yelled out my finish time. What? Despite holding back, I managed to cut my time a bit. That's cool.
And then again, just like my very first 5K, I felt it again. Potential.