In Which the Season of Speed Gets Off to a Slow Start

The first half of 2016 is to be dedicated to doing something about my basic lack of leg speed. I have no delusions of becoming a sprinter, or even a miler, but I know that I must be stronger and faster overall before getting back to my happy place (the marathon). But first, a small recap:

After my marathon on October 31st, I took it easy for a couple of weeks then did a little bit of work ahead of the local Thanksgiving 8k. The night before however, I got knocked down by a norovirus and spent most of my Thanksgiving holiday curled up beside my toilet. Rebounding from that a bit, I somehow managed second female at Paris Mtn 20k in a course PR of 1:31 and change. Obviously that is slow for a 20k, but the whole mountain bit in the middle makes this race uniquely challenging. Then, I was kind of a bum the rest of December. I needed the physical and mental break after a long season of track workouts, big miles and lots of new PRs. I did manage to get just over 2600 miles for 2015 despite my sloth-like December (I did lift a lot, though! And still ran like 150 miles so it wasn’t the worst).

Anyway, 2016 has begun and today marked my return to racing at the Greenville News Downtown 5k. This race is pretty huge with over 1300 runners. I was excited to see my teammates that were running, and pretty happy with the weather (low 40s and overcast with light wind). However, I’m not so sure I should have bothered. I’m drinking Theraflu Severe Cold and Cough as I type this and my voice is on its way out again– to the delight of my husband, I’m sure. The semester started this past Monday, so I’m certain I caught something from suddenly being in warm enclosed spaces with a bunch of germ factories students. I actually lost my voice mid-lecture on Thursday, but luckily I lesson plan with backups in case something falls flat with the class or we have technology fails. So, I stuck on a short video and wrote an assignment on the board and my voice returned a while later. But, its gotten worse, and the congestion in my head and throat migrated to my chest on Friday.

Anyone who has ever attempted a hard run with chest congestion knows exactly what I’m about to describe. It seems fine at first, because your legs are okay, but then it’s as if you’ve been suddenly transported to high altitude and also you just got asthma. Oh, and you’re barely a half mile into the 5k. As if 5ks aren’t painful enough even when you feel good.

I knew it was bad when we weren’t even at the 2 mile mark and I was counting the number of people in front of me that have NEVER beaten me and knowing I wasn’t going to do a thing about it. I finished in 21:12 (for reference, I ran 20:47 last year and even with a lazy December, my fitness is much higher), and barely top 20 female (I was shooting for more like top 10 on a good day).

Given how crap I feel, I shouldn’t be too bummed, and mostly I am just so stoked to get this spring racing season going. But, this race is HUGE and it seems like everyone in town runs it. And I lost to people that I could typically run circles around, so I feel pretty dejected about it. I mean, I know I’ll bounce back just fine and get back up where I should be when I can breathe again, but my ego is a bit wounded at this first test of the year.

Wow, I knew I was going to write out my excuses/frustrations, but I didn’t expect this to sound so depressing. Thanks Theraflu? Anyway, lets just call it setting the bar low and hopefully my next race report will be much cheerier.