Just ran my first 5K in donkey’s years. After the half marathon the 3.1 miles should be a piece of cake, but a 5K is more about strength and speed than endurance. Anyway the run kinda sucked (well, my run did, the entire event—The Year of the Boar 5K Run and Wok—was a convivial and efficient, though relatively small, affair). Not sure what went wrong. First mile was fast-ish (7:16, which is fast for me these days), but hit something like a bloodsugar drop on the second mile and lost energy (hit mile 2 in 15 minutes, so not too much slower), which led to general nausea in the third mile (fun, eh?). So I ended up with a 24:00 5K and still managed to win my age group (!). Which goes to show both that it pays to be over 40 and also how small an event this was.
Now, 24 minutes is a pretty decent time. But I’m also realizing as I do more of these events that my only yardstick of success for distance running—and hence my real competition—is what I did when I was 18. I know, I know: competing with oneself is such a cliché. But I also have this nagging feeling that I can actually beat him (that is, me, or the 18-year old me): I’m handling distances much more easily than I did when I was younger. I should point out that when I was 18, I wasn’t that great a runner and never made varsity in either track or cross-country, so it’s not like I’m setting the bar all that high here.
12 hours ago