After the marathon, I was feeling a bit lost. I had nothing to train for and very much had a “now what?” type of attitude. I’m planning to do several half marathons next year, but I don’t need to start training until January. I really needed a break from all the heavy running since my work life has been horrendously busy and the holidays were coming. However, I didn’t want to do nothing until January either. So I signed up for a 5K race here in Colorado Springs called the Stocking Shuffle.
It’s sponsored by a local running group and benefits a local charity that provides toys and food to needy families at Christmas. It was a great cause and it gave me some direction to keep up my running.
The race was this morning. Unlike all of my previous races (there isn’t that many—2 5Ks, half marathon and a full marathon), I wasn’t nervous. I was finally running merely because I wanted to. I didn’t train to set a PR and just figured I’d have fun with it. If I set a PR, it’d be a nice bonus, but I was really braving this cold December morning just because I love running and racing.
There were only about 150 – 200 participants, so it was nice and small. The purpose of the race was to raise money, not spend money, so there weren’t any fancy timing chips, one small water station and no mile markers. Crowd watching was fun as everyone was decked out in holiday themed gear. I donned a santa hat and red gloves, but otherwise stuck to my running clothes since it was super cold this morning.
The horn buzzed and we were off. I flipped on my iPod and just enjoyed my run/walk. It was a cold, but pretty morning and we ran through the campus of Colorado College, which is beautiful. There was one very steep hill, which coincided with a walk break on my run/walk cycle, so that was lucky. I only checked my Garmin once, which was after the 2-mile mark and the only water station. I’m not very good at math, so I wasn’t quite sure if I was on track to set a PR. I decided not to care and just keep going. I was trying to push my pace much harder than normal since was a short distance, but I wasn’t going to get hung up on it.
I finally saw the park where the finish line was located and checked my Garmin again. I was at 2.70 miles and 33 minutes. I thought to myself, holy cow, I could actually set a PR. I found my marathon finish line song, “Sing” by My Chemical Romance, on my iPod and I decided to book it. I started running harder and harder, which thankfully it was down hill at that point.
My previous PR for a 5K distance was 39:40, and today, I sailed through the finish line at 37:04. I was so excited! I hadn’t stressed or pushed myself or even cared about a PR, and I beat my previous time by over 2.5 minutes! It felt fantastic. I’m still definitely one of the slower runners, but I made huge strides today and I had so much fun with it.
I have to admit though that the finish line high for a 5K wasn’t the same feeling like a half or a full marathon. Could I be getting the bug again to take the plunge for a full? I promised myself I won’t attempt to do a full marathon for a full year. I’m going to work hard on my half races next year and see where I end up. But, maybe, those finish line sirens are calling.