Misery loves Repetition

I took this picture.  But I'm obviously not in it.

I took this picture. But I’m obviously not in it.

I am going to run in the Healthy Kidney 10k the day after tomorrow.  This is a race that last year lead to my slow summer decline into crappy times so I’m a little stressed out. So before I mess up my confidence by having a shit race, I wanted to remember the 5k I ran last weekend.

I help out with the St A 5k here in Croton-on-Hudson.  My friend Jenn is the race director, and I throw together some scoring gear and mark the course with her.  She’s an awesome runner and an all around good person to be around.  She lacks my innate cynicism and hated of people, so I can only imagine she brings out a little bit of the good in me.  Which I suppress by blogging.

In 2009, I ran this race and put in my first sub 20 minute 5k.  This effectively ended any real chance of ever enjoying a race again.  20 minutes is a magic number for older runners.  Once you hit it, you gotta keep hitting it.  Or die trying.  That ma be a bit dramatic.  Maybe a hilly course.  Or if you stop for a meal.  But mostly, you gotta hit it or try really hard.  And maybe die.  OK, moving on.

I ran a 19:57 four years ago, and started to think about what that number meant.  I used the Mcmillan Running Calculator and thought to myself that with a little effort I  stood a chance.  I then started speed training at the track, ran in Boston a year later.  The misery continues.

This year, I had one goal:  run faster than I did in 2009.  Otherwise I was just going to throw myself in front of a bus.  That was it.  Run faster or die.  OK, I exaggerate.  It was most likely going to be a train as the course is right next to the railroad tracks.

This course is fast and flat, and the weather was a perfect 55°.  First mile, I went out at 6:18.  I needed a 6:24 to beat my old time, so I was happy.   Mile 2, 6:27.  Not happy.  Mile 3, 6:29.  Overall, 19:52 according to my watch (19:55 official), so I was very very happy.  What’s weird is that my first mile was so strong.  I was hurting in the end, to be sure, but also the race was thinning out so it was hard to key on others.   I should mention that about mile 2.5 this guy who actually looks like he has some upper body strength blasted by me which I found very surprising.  Not surprising like “oh wow, here’s someone to hold on to,” but rather “oh, look this guy is fast.  I should give up running.”

I won my age, which was awesome, and Jenn makes the awards a plant — so I have a plant!  And all in all I was very happy.

Now this 10k Saturday.  No happiness there.  I feel calloused and tired.  And sluggish.  Had a good track workout this week.  That was probably a mistake.  But I want to keep training hard and I’m thrilled I can race this weekend.  Thrilled to be miserable.  What isn’t healthy about that?

 

Written by Greg Cohen

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