Sunday, February 15, 2009

Only She Who Is Running Knows

From the comedic genius of PDQ Bach, in his ground-breaking work Iphigenia in Brooklyn:

Oh God, who knows what it is
To be running?
Only he who is running... running... running... knows.
Running, running knows,
Run running knows, run running knows...!!!

Kleenex, anyone?

Any run outdoors in winter is going to involve Kleenex for me, and yesterday's 5K was no exception. It was a gorgeous day, though. The race started just after 11am, under bright-blue skies, temperature right around freezing, light winds, sunshine glistening on a 2-inch layer of snow that had fallen the night before. Most of the race was along cleared bike-path, so we were really only running on snowpack for a few blocks of city street.

The race was a lot bigger than my friends and I had expected. From past years' posted results, it looked like the usual turnout was around 120. This year? 430! I wonder how many registered same-day, once they saw what a nice day it was.

My personal goal was to run an 11-minute-mile pace, for a total time just over 34 minutes.

I ran it in 33:15, for a pace of 10:42, running all the way. I even had enough steam left to put on a bit of a sprint at the end, passing up the woman I'd been pacing behind for much of the race. I guess if you take off the ten seconds it took me to cross the start line, that's 33:05. Fastest I'd ever gone, even on the treadmill! I placed 383 of 430.


I enjoyed having friends along so we could share one anothers' excitement. The woman with whom I shared the Couch to 5K link back in November at the Women's Retreat had been training with her husband, and their two sons (10 & 13) came along for the run too, pretty much without training but they play soccer so they run well. All of us were happy with our times. The young'uns beat the pants offa me, but who's counting, right?

Then last night we all went over to their house for dinner. Joy was in a fine mood, ate well and sat happily at the dinner table for a long time, playing with the plastic from around the ice-cream carton while the rest of us talked. The 13-year-old entertained Rose very obligingly, without a hint of teenaged-guy-attitude. (Rose kept her own attitude in check as well, not complaining about the curry main dish but simply saying "No, thank you" as we had coached.)

Wow. Now I need a new running goal! Shave my 5K? Ten-minute miles, anyone? I wouldn't have believed it when I started...

One thing I failed to bring to the race was a camera. Here are some older running-related photos for your entertainment, though:

5K running team: Chicago Yes!
This photo from September 1991 was, if we're being picky and technical, my other first 5K. It was a fun-run/walk at a Mennonite Relief Sale, a fundraiser for international relief work. I had just finished a 2-year stint of Mennonite volunteer service in Chicago at the time, and a local pastor cobbled together a team with me and one of my former housemates and a couple other guys. I don't think I trained much if at all, and don't remember much about the race either. Like, I don't remember the starting gun, though I do have some flash memories of the actual running, including near the end when I was passed up by a race-walker! I didn't know enough to look at my time on the clock at the finish line, so I have no idea how fast I went (if they were posting times, I wouldn't have known where to ask anyway).

I wore the shirt again eleven years later, at the SCAATY Run in Chicago, September 2002 (Rose, hiding in the stroller, was seven months old). SCAATY stood for Still Crazy After All These Years, and was organized by Uncle Marathon in honor of his 20,000th mile running. Yes, you read that right. Twenty thousand. He'd been keeping logs since he started, something that I've now been talked into doing, and organized a run to invite friends and relatives to join him in running mile 20,000. It was a nice little bit of post-pregnancy training for me, just to get to the point of jogging a mile, and JoyDad and I had fun joining in the 20,000th mile run and festivities.

Don't worry, this isn't going to become a running blog. I might sneak in updates now and again, though.

P.S. Many thanks to Auntie RatM and Uncle Marathon for the tips and encouragement leading up to this race! Yes, I did start near the back, and double-tie my shoelaces!


Niksmom said...

CONGRATULATIONS! That's an accomplishment to be very proud of, for sure! Happy (belated) Valentine's Day. too.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS! from me, too! Outstanding, JM! (With credit to JD for being a Dad who can manage the girls while you run. Has he cooked anything interesting lately?)

I thought you said JD's stories from work curled your hair? Looks curly-enough to me in the 'earliest' photo.

Excellent time on the race! Those personal goals are so much more important than whether the race walker passes you or not, eh?

My thanks to Auntie RatM and Uncle Marathon, too. Sooo glad you did not get injured...ahem.

I just finished a couple of hours in the yard pushing around mulch and shoveling bunny poop. Got some photos today of one of our bunnies - for show later.

Just earning my name.

JoyMama said...

Niksmom - thanks! And Happy Valentine's Day back atcha!

BRatK - thanks to you too! Curly hair back when was perm. Perm prices have gone up... listening to JoyDad's stories is a much cheaper approach but less consistent. Will look forward to bunny photo!

Anonymous said...

Yay!!! Good job! That's a really good time, and it's awesome that you beat your goal time by quite a margin.

Hey, and if you're ever worried about boring this crowd, you're welcome to come on over to my blog as a guest blogger. :)

How did you place within your age group?

Anonymous said...

Good job! I am very impressed and very proud! I love those pictures too! Although you may be sporting more "naturally" curled hair (aka JoyDad induced curling), you haven't aged a bit otherwise from those early days!! I'm glad that my siblings were able to help with the running info. Just think of me as being like my mother, willing to stand on the sidelines and cheer! Hopefully, I can come out and do that for you sometime!

JoyMama said...

RatM - They didn't break out the age groups in the results, but my own perusal of the 40-something women put me at 15th out of 18. (Among women overall I was 201 of 238.) There were several women in their 50s running between 8 & 9-minute miles! I may take you up on the guest-blog thing at some point. File me under "beginner"!

ARatK - But will you bring a great big video camera as large as your torso to balance on your shoulder, like your mom used to do? LOL! Thank you about the aging. It's kind of you to ignore the grey hair and incipient wrinkles...

Anonymous said...

Running will keep you young - in all the right places!

Anonymous said...

I guess my mom was into weight lifting before it was cool to work out so much! LOL! I will have to see what I can do about the giant camera thing. Nowadays, cameras have gotten so tiny! It just won't have the same effect if I were to put one of those up on my shoulder!
What grey hair? I never noticed any on you!! The real test for that would be to ask Rose to describe you and see what she says for the color of your hair!! LOL! Our KJ described his dad as having grey hair when KJ was in preschool! That sure made UncleS feel old!!

mama edge said...

Wow! Can I have your autograph?