My athletic career properly started with high school cross country. I ran CC and track for three years and cross country was the best. My memories of fall were always some of the most vivid- new school years filled with all sorts of promise, academic, romantic, athletic. Dances, races, pep rallies.
As an adult, cross country has remained one of my favourite things, however, it fills basically the opposite end of the spectrum. Where high school years started in the fall and cross country started in August, nowdays cross country is normally crammed into the end of my season. If I'm running the Mystic Marathon or doing IM Florida (see my last post), I might not hit the trails until November and then get only two or three races.
Last year I was fortunate enough to run the 5K national championship on the same course as we ran sectionals in High School. Although I could have gone again this year I felt that I should really, really focus on Mystic. So my first race was today.
I haven't run a 5k since July. Now, if you know me, and I pity anyone who doesn't and is reading this boring dren anyway, that's a record since I resumed running at the age of about 35. I used to run two 5ks in a weekend, or at least two a month. And a 5K is not like doing longer racing. Not at all.
Will Graustien and Dave (??), the race director, had a great cross country course set up in Litchfield this morning. The course was everything you want in a race. The one REALLY big hill, the type where you take another corner and just sigh because it's STILL going up, up and away. A couple of smaller hills, some mud, some turns. I had a ball.
I also ran out of gas after two miles. As Will put it- 'You were right in there at two miles.' Yeah, I was. And the race was 3.1 miles long. Don't get me wrong. I had a great time, it was a good warm-up for next week's 8K on Saturday. At the same time, at 41 years of age, I'm finally ready to accept that if you want to run 5Ks fast (and 17:41 does not do it for me), you have to train for 5ks. And I don't plan to train for 5ks any time soon, not unless that somehow fits into a plan to get Margit to a half or an Ironman....