Every month we have the habit of meeting in early morning to run our butts off then eat pancakes. This month's venture was the "March Mad Dash" a 5k, 5 Mile, and 10 Mile race.
Last year I ran the 5 mile in 48:47 (and Neil placed). This year, I went with the 5K seeing as it was my first time racing since the surgery.
I had no idea what my speed would be. Every single run I take is with the dog, and stopping to sniff every tree really messes with one's sense of timing. I told Neil that I would aim for a 10 minute mile, but I felt nervous to meet even that goal. I felt especially nervous about how I would feel.
I set out and things were good. I slipped past person after person. I climbed hills and my head felt fine. In the absence of pain, I noticed my breathing and the course and the people around me. I didn't have to walk to bring my heart rate down and relieve pressure and I didn't have to spike with pain after a mile.
I would check my time and think "wow this is fast. I should slow down so I don't start to hurt," but the hurt never came. And friends, get this, I finished under my goal of 31 minutes. In fact, after well over a year of trying to break that 9 minute mile mark, I sailed across that too.
My final time was 27:02! (which calculates to an 8:42 min/mile)
I dashed across the finish and lept and hooted and hollered and even then I felt no pain. I wanted to kiss everyone on the face. So often I've heard of a 'runner's high', and now that's finally making sense. It must sound like I'm going on and on about this but I just can't express in enough ways how amazing it is to put in training miles and get subsequent results. Its so incredible for a race to feel fun and easy and not crippling. It's beyond my wildest dreams to end a race without the things going dark in my peripheral and my temples stabbing. After what felt like such an uphill struggle with everything running, on Saturday, I coasted down hill.
I even finished fast enough to watch Neil cross the finish line of his 5 mile at 35:05 (that's like a 7 minute mile folks!)
Despite his great time, he was even more happy for me. This joy might be rooted in the fact that I didn't snap at him during the early morning car ride, and I didn't cry at the finish, and I didn't make him escort me out of the noise and chaos to a place where I'd likely snap at him again. Nope, we both were happy and fine!
Is this how other people feel when they run? Is this what we have to look forward to? I could have never envisioned how madly great this would all be!