When I signed up for the Dia de los Muertos Night Run 5K, it was still an in-person event. Of course, it had to go virtual as you might expect, and so back in September, they sent out our swag packages and changed the date from a specific day/time to “anytime from October 4 to November 4.” This really would’ve been a fun one to do in person – not least because I do not feel comfortable doing a run out at the park, alone, when it’s dark outside, and so I had to do it during the day instead. But also because many people dress up for this 5K (and others that the organizers host throughout the year), and it seems like a really awesome race environment. And, as I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of virtual races. They’re just all I can sign up for at the moment!
The swag package included a very soft, comfy shirt that sadly was WAY too small despite me sizing up! (see above) Sigh. It also included the race medal, and a bib that came with a dedication space. Being as this is a Day of the Dead run, it makes sense – running in honor of a loved one who has passed. I have quite a number of those now, sadly, but the person who came immediately to mind was my grandmother, who passed away in February 2018. She had been wheelchair-bound toward the end of her life, and had often been frustrated with her lack of mobility. She was also an amazing woman who taught me so much, and in many ways, I’m still reeling from her loss. I wanted to run this for her.
I meant to run this 5K early in October, but circumstances (mostly timing, family issues, and weather) kept intervening. Finally, I decided to just go get it done yesterday…which I admit, was probably a mistake. One of the circumstances holding me back was that I’d aggravated my formerly-broken left foot, and hadn’t had a chance to see my chiropractor to put my talus bone back in place. This affected my gait, which in turn gave me really severe calf pain in both legs from the very beginning of the run. The 5K route I have involves eight laps around my running park, and I was running roughly 2/3rds of each lap. By the time I finished the fourth lap, I literally had to stop the timer and stretch. (One good thing about virtual runs, eh? I don’t care if this is technically cheating.) Even the stretching didn’t help, and by the time I finished two miles, I decided to walk the rest of the way to avoid further injury. It took over five hours for the cramps in my left calf to fully dissipate post-run. Oy.
But here’s what I will say. Despite the leg pain, it was a beautiful day for a run, and I feel like now I have a really good baseline as I re-begin my running training. I literally haven’t run outdoors once since my 5K in September, and barefoot indoor running isn’t exactly the same. It’s time to get my strength back, and I plan to go through the Couch to 5K program again – not to learn to run this time, but to try to improve my speed/endurance. I was happy to see that many of my run segments had paces in the 14- and 15-something per mile range, even though my overall 5K time was 53:20 (a 17:06/mi pace).
Afterwards I got pictures with my now-earned medal, and filled out my Running Bingo for this race. It feels a little weird to cross out my “night/dark” themed run when I ran this thing in the daylight, but again, I’m not comfortable with running alone in the dark and I don’t see in-person events happening again any time soon. This will have to do!