Last year, I signed up for the Gabriella’s Cupcake 5K because a hiking friend of mine told me about it. There was a group of us who were going to walk it together. Then covid pushed the race back twice, until eventually it went fully-virtual in July. I walked/ran this one up in Wisconsin, getting my second-best 5K time since I re-started running in 2017, only a few days after running a full 5K with no walk breaks. I was really happy about the achievements, especially without any of the in-person excitement to spur me on like during in-person 5Ks. Now, a year later, a group of us decided to walk this 5K together again – and in person this time!
So let’s just talk a sec about the excitement of in-person 5Ks. This was a small 5K – the in-person was capped at 250 people – which is my favorite kind. I like the 250-500 person range for 5Ks: not too crowded, but not so small there’s no excitement. As we lined up, I was itching to run. I knew I shouldn’t. 1) I have this injured foot, and I’d literally stopped exercising on it as of May 2nd. 2) I’d hardly done any running since the previous fall, including only four times since the beginning of 2021, never more than a minute or two at a time. 3) I hadn’t stretched or warmed up or any of the things you should do before you run. 4) I was wearing my purse with my hydroflask hanging off of it – not the best physical situation for running!
But here’s the thing, y’all. Remember how I recently said that I had to cancel my camping trip because if I’d gone up there, even with the intention to just camp, I would have hiked? This is who I am. I am a person who does stupid things to her body when caught up in the moment. I am a person who must take extra precautions to keep herself from doing these things. Example: In 2013, I was scheduled for a 5K, and I had bronchitis when it came around. In order to keep myself from running, I wore jeans, a baggy cotton t-shirt, non-running shoes, a regular bra, and my purse. I only have one picture –> from the event and it doesn’t really show my incredibly stupid-looking 5K outfit. And even with all that, I was really, really temped to run. When the gun goes off and everyone starts to run across that starting line, I just want to run with them. I ended up walking that 5K in 2013 in an absolutely ridiculous time of 43:34, a 14:03/mi pace, by far the fastest walking pace I’ve ever done. (No, I didn’t run once. Yes, that is faster than my current best running 5K pace.)
Anyway – back to last Saturday. Normally, if I’m with a group of people walking a 5K, I can get past the start line without breaking into a run. I expected that to be the case here, so I didn’t take any special precautions. Only then we crossed the start line, and Mari said, “Let’s run!” to Yoli, and the two began to run, and then I was running with them, and…yeah. So I only ran about a minute or two of the 5K, probably a total of a tenth of a mile, but it was stupid stupid stupid. The excitement had passed, and I stopped running, and I spent the next two miles with my calves all tight and achy, walking with zombie-legs, really needing a stretch. Finally, with less than a mile to go, they started to loosen up again, and I began to feel normal. I began to feel the way I should have felt the entire 5K. Heh.
Mari (left in this photo) did a lot more running than the rest of us, and came in with an awesome time! The rest of us walked together through the end. We picked up cupcakes (mmm) and took pictures and grabbed lots of swag. All the results were posted online to help with social distancing. I was really confused by my time, because I’d used my Garmin to be exact, and I stopped my watch at 56:50 about 10-15 seconds after going past the finish, and my “official” time (not gun time) was 57:07. I forgot that I’d stopped my Garmin for half a min to wait for the rest of my group after my little run-bit, ha! So with my “official” time, I came in 213 of 243 folks, 149 of 168 women, and 22 of 25 in my age group (40-44). Not the best times in the world, but hey, I don’t care a bit. My pace – going by my Garmin – was 18:20/mi, and my best pace was 7:49/mi. I thought my Garmin was being stupid with that last one, til I realized that that pace was when Yoli and I sprinted the last 10 feet across the finish line for photos. 😀
It was a fun morning. I didn’t stretch properly before or after, so by the time I got home, my left calf had badly cramped, and I spent most of the day aching from the waist down. (Dudes. What happened to the Manda who knew how to properly handle a pre- and post-5K routine? Clearly she forgot way too much during the pandemic…) Likely my foot will take longer to heal than originally anticipated as well, though I’ll admit, it never did hurt after that 5K or in the time since. And hey, it was my first 5K post-pandemic, and I’m very happy to experience all the hoopla again! Plus, I have to admit: It was kinda awesome to experience a little of the old-me popping out there in the early excitement of the 5K. I don’t see pre-2014 Manda very often anymore, and those rare moments always make me smile.