Beast of Burden

I ran Midnight Sun Midnight Run 5K again this year, my third time running it. (First time here, second time here.) I finished in exactly the same time as I did last year, 30:02. I’m not super thrilled about it. I was hoping to not go back over that 30 minute mark, but my mental game is not strong right now.

I finally had my exam yesterday, and it didn’t go well at all. I mean, there’s still a possibility I passed, but it wasn’t my best day. I guess I’m out of practice with 1. taking test and 2. engineering from an academic perspective. I’m not excited at the prospect of more studying, though I’ve got a solid base so I won’t have to spend hours a night studying. So that’s good.

Before yesterday, I thought that I’d enjoy the race, that it would be a chance for me to run off some of the frustration of the last few weeks, or to triumphantly celebrate if the test went well. Instead, the results of the day weighed me down. 6 hours of stressful testing sapped me of my energy, and I just couldn’t get it back, certainly not for a midnight race.

The race itself was fine. There were fewer people there this year, possibly because it was in the low 60s and windy by race time, but still humid. I wore shorts and a t-shirt anyway and wasn’t cold. My husband was running the race with me, and we ran about a mile warm-up. The wind was pretty strong, and I knew it would be a factor and was planning to avoid going out hard, since I’d hit the wind the hardest in the second half-mile of the course.

I discovered we had started way too far back in the race pack. Last year, there were plenty of people behind us, but this year, we were almost at the back. That was stupid, because right at the start, I hit a wall of walkers. I should have moved closer to the front, but oh well. I passed a bunch of people and had a decent first mile despite the weaving, bobbing, and the wind.

The rest of the race wasn’t great. I didn’t have any giddy-up in me. I had heartburn from dinner (salmon and rice, but I had eaten too much and too recently, so I was too full), and I had no heart to put into my race. No desire to keep pushing. The hills slowed me a bit although I battled through them, but I slowed considerably in the last mile, and couldn’t get going again. I find that once I come down from a harder pace, I can’t easily find it again. But I think I can, and think I’m back to cruising, only to look down and see I haven’t.

I can’t be too mad about this. I haven’t been running much at all, and I have certainly not been working on speed. At this point, I think all the easy gains are gone from the 5K – if I want to get better, it’s going to require a lot of effort. I’m not sure I’m interested in giving up distance for speed, especially since I find there’s a lot more room for improvement and discovery at long distances, but there’s still opportunities to increase my speed overall. I just have to figure out how to want it again.

I’ve got 3 weeks left until Curnow, which isn’t great. I thought I had 4. I’m looking forward to the race, and I’ve got to remain positive about it. So my training isn’t the strongest – that’s fine. I’m not burned out. I’m not injured (knock on wood). I’m ready to give myself a chance to get back on track mentally.

Especially since I signed up to run the Birkie Trail Run 100K at the end of September. Gulp.

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