There was a time when I didn’t much bother with 5Ks. But coming off a year of injuries, followed by a winter during which I essentially started working two jobs, I’ve been barely running at all. Given all my frustration, the Adams County 5K Challenge seemed like a low-pressure way to ease back into racing again. You fill out one form, write one check and suddenly you’re automatically registered for 13 races.
It remains to be seen how many I make it to, or whether I can actually get back to being competitive in my age group again. But if nothing else, I thought it would be fun to “run with the herd” again.
As it turned out, the rainy conditions made for a pretty small group at Saturday’s Swiss Village 5K in Berne. We were so spread out, there wasn’t much opportunity to lock onto another runner’s back with my eyeballs and try to reel them in.
I was running without a watch as usual, so I had no idea what my pace was. I told myself my time didn’t matter, that I was just getting a baseline to beat next time out. As I came around the bend toward the finish, I saw that the clock read 36-something. And suddenly it seemed really important that I cross that finish line before it got to 37, because I remembered that back in 2010, when I was about ¾ of the way through my weight loss, I’d run a 5K in 36-something.
I made it, but just barely: 36:57, an 11:55 pace. Nowhere to go but up from there. Luckily I’ve got 12 more races in which to improve.