5K Race Recap: It Wasn’t the Distance I Signed Up For
Oh the difference a year can make.
Last year at this time I was sharing my Monumental Half Marathon recap. I struggled with my finish time and questioned why I couldn’t get under 2 hours like I was used to when running my half marathons. Fast forward to the spring 2016, and I ran 3 more half marathons. You can go back and read about the Hoosier Half, the Indy Mini, and the Chicago Half. And then my running came to an abrupt halt.
After the Chicago Half I had a bit of pain in my knee, so I decided to back off. I took to the bike (thank the Lord I love to bike!). But the break from running didn’t seem to help. In fact, the knee kept getting worse. When I tried to do a short run, there was pain. Finally I went to the doctor. After x-rays, MRI, etc, the final diagnosis is “bad knees”. I have arthritis in both knees. It’s a chronic condition that isn’t going to get better. I have to learn to “manage” it, according to the doctor.
Devastating to say the least.
My summer was spent biking a ton and hardly running. I walked some. I kept meeting up with the Roadrunners, because you gotta have your fitness family, right? I’d walk most times and try to run a bit here and there. I worked on stretching and strengthening my knee and the muscles around it. Wednesday I had my final appointment with my physical therapist who told me I was good to go and that I’d just have to monitor and manage.
So here I was. Saturday morning. Toeing the line to race for the first time since the end of May. And I wasn’t in the half marathon that I’m used to running. I was running the 5K. I’d only run 3 miles a few times in the weeks leading up to this event, but I had signed up back on January 1st, and I was ready to race! I had originally signed up for the half, because that’s what I do (did I mention the half is my favorite, and I’ve completed 58 of them??). Reluctantly, I changed my entry to the 5K. I’ve never showed up at a race that offers a 5K with a half or full and done the 5K. I’m a cardio junkie, a distance girl. Sign me up for the miles!
But not this time.
Race morning I met up with local runners in Shelbyville, and we drove to the race site together. (We made our token stop at the Hardee’s located where we enter downtown Indy. It’s a race morning tradition!)
I feared I would be sad that I wasn’t running the half. I thought I’d have lots of emotions to deal with when I saw all the runners take off, and I was left behind to run the 5K. But you know, I did okay. I still felt that same race day excitement. I still felt the awe of the energy surrounding me and the energy within me. I was still overcome with gratitude to be running, and maybe even more so, because just a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure I’d be ready to run at all on this date.
To start, I took off a bit cautiously and all along I planned to be conservative with my pace since I hadn’t tested out this knee much over the last few months. From experience I know that speed work just aggravates injury. But everything felt okay. I didn’t feel any tugging or pulling around my knee. It felt good to be out in that race atmosphere. I had set a goal for that race if everything felt okay, and I was able to achieve it. It wasn’t close to my best 5K time, but it was good for this season that I’m in.
I finished with a smile on my face. I grabbed my stuff from bag check so I could put on a sweatshirt and buy a cup of coffee and watch for my friends to finish the half marathon. Not once did I feel sadness that I wasn’t part of the bigger race. I was just grateful to be there and satisfied that I’m still a runner.
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