June 2011


This is not my community pool.

This is not my community pool.

So… I’ve been having a ton of pain in the knuckle of my big toe lately. Super not fun for a runner. I’m not certain about the cause, but WebMD tells me it could be one of the following: bone spur (need surgery, super not fun), gout (change my diet completely), or a forming bunion (best option if one must be chosen). I’m going with bunion for now and I’m pretty sure if that’s the case then it’s being caused by my oh-so-uncomfortable rock climbing shoes (which I am definitely not giving up despite the pain). With that said, I’ve decided to take on some low impact exercising (read: swimming) to take some of the strain off my poor little feetsies and release them from their shoe prisons while I train for this next marathon.

I don’t know about you, but I HATE the summer heat. I mean, I get up at 5 a.m. to go run before work and it’s already too hot out. Maybe that is just me… Anywho, I still think I chose the best time ever to decide to take up swimming (104 degrees F in Sacramento today?!). And, the best news is I don’t even have to belong to a gym or a fancy country club. I did a search for public pools in Sacramento and there are A TON – and it’s only $2 for lap swimming. Sign me up already! Actually, even better news: The pool  right in the center of the park where I run (which I somehow never knew existed until now) is HUGE. It’s 12 lanes of glorious coolness just waiting for me to escape the summer heat. Trust me, this is the best “hidden secret” of Sacramento that I have yet discovered. Thank you public tax dollars for actually doing something useful.

When I first began running I would do a 5K or a 10K at least once a month, if not more often. I really enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that came with being able to finish a race, no matter how short. But in recent years, especially as I began training for my first marathon, I had let these shorter races go to the wayside. I began to feel that the cost and the hassle associated with race day (getting up early, dealing with traffic and crowds, etc.) wasn’t worth it for a 30-minute race. And so I stopped signing up for 5Ks…until recently.

In the past two weeks I have run two 5K races, and they actually seemed incredibly hard despite the short distance. The reason for this, in my case, is that I run much faster at a 5K race than I do at longer distance races. I know that the race will be over shortly and I tell my internal pacer that it’s OK to go all out. While I have steadily shaved seconds and minutes off of my half marathon time in the last two years, I haven’t set a Personal Record for the mile or for the 5K since 2009.

With this in mind I signed up for a 5K two weekends ago and then again for one today with a couple of friends. At the 5K two weekends ago I had hoped to beat my Personal Record, which has been 30:20 for nearly three years. Alas, it didn’t happen, with me finishing in 31:56. Given the fact that I began marathon training this week and my poor performance at the last 5K, I didn’t give myself much of a chance of besting my Personal Record this morning, but I still told my friends I wanted to try to finish in under 30 minutes.

Both of the women I ran with today are much stronger runners than me, and with their encouragement (and the competitiveness of running among friends) I was able to keep up with them for the first two miles, which I truly believe finally gave me the edge to beat my PR. In the end, they finished a little less than a minute ahead of me, but I still made it in under 30 minutes! They were both cheering for me and, for the first time in a long time, I had my arms up cheering at the end of the race, yelling toward them, “I did it!” I also finally broke the 9-minute barrier for the mile (barely), which has evaded me since the same 5K where I ran the 30:20. Today was a seriously great running day that gave me a renewed appreciation for the shorter races – and for running partners! Another plus is that it gave me more confidence in my ability to pick up the pace.

As I continue to train for my next marathon, I hope I can remember the importance of the small achievements as well – and the confidence boost they can give.

New PR for the 5K: 29.19
New PR for the mile: 8.59
Miles run this week: 18