Change and Winning

It seems like every time there’s a big change in life, it takes a couple of months to get your shit back together enough to find words to give people, and to see how your life can settle around that change.

About a month ago, I changed careers again – a second time in a year.  The good news is that it was back to my original career, so I don’t feel as lost or as much as a failure as before.   But for some reason, that failure sensation remains.

Throughout this change my house has fallen to a state of tottering on ‘always a mess’, and our laundry doesnt come back into our bedroom after it’s clean…. it all mostly lives in the basement – dirty clothes at the bottom of the stairs where they pile up and clean clothes in the laundry baskets beside the washer/dryer.  Anyone else feel this?  Is this the real purpose in having kids?  So that you have someone else to force into finishing the chores?   

I’m not sure if this change is a full “win” or not right now.  But I don’t regret it.  There’s a lot going on that I was misled about….and yet, it still feels better than I was doing over the last year.

Despite the unpredictable schedule that defines this new job too, I’m staying pretty strong on my training plan.  And I’m racing really well in the 5ks this summer, like I wanted!

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Most of the 5ks I’ve run this summer have had some kind of gimmick or theme that made it sound fun or different.  You know?  Something to make it more than just a 5k.

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Early in the summer, I signed my husband, my ‘race husband’ Minh, and myself up for what I thought was a 5k (It was actually a 7k…it even said so on the site.  I need to learn to pay attention to race stuff when I sign up) in Mansfeild Ohio.  The race, the Shawshank Hustle, ran around the prison and town that served as the location for the Shawshank Redemption movie.  I cam in first for my age group, despite overheating pretty hard in the last mile and having to break into a short walk in order to breathe.  IMG_1512Hanging around the area after to tour the prison and ride a merry-go-round made for a great day.

 

Back in July, for the 4th, I ran the local running store’s 5k, and although I was hedged out of placing for my age group, I did get within the top 15 women (13th), which earned a pretty awesome running store sweatshirt for me.  And.  I LOVE THIS SHIRT!  Guys.  I won something that fits right, looks awesome, and …. hell… I WON IT!

Following the July race, I signed up for a race called “the meltdown”.   The challenge… I almost wanted to write gimmick…  for this race was that you’d have 3 5ks, one starting on the hour each hour.  You could run any number of these, one to all three of them, but if you wanted a medal, you had to do all three.  When I started running, I was under the impression that only the people who ran well enough to place in all three would take trophies for their successes.  I didn’t have any expectation to do well…at least not beyond race 1.  So I went all-out in that first go.  I picked off runners ahead of me, all the while chasing one of the guys, who put on more speed every time I got closer to him.  As I made the final turn toward their finish line, the RD called out, “You’re the first woman!  Yay!” and I responded like I always do, “HOLY SHIT NO WAY!”

Race 1 I finished in 21:42, not my PR, but also, not bad.  I grabbed water, cheered on my friends, Matt and my race husband, and decided that I would just run comfortably in the next two.  Race 2 started, and I felt a lot stronger than I thought I would after that first solid effort.  I started out fast, again, and decided I’d just tuck into the pace of the woman who, if her comments were to be believed, really wanted to win this thing.  She set a good pace for the first mile or so, but then I don’t knwo what happened…. I just… passed her.  Then I passed the little middle school track star again….  and… suddenly I was in first place.  Track star gave chase, and I just pushed through it, dropping her with a little less than a mile to go.  And then there I was.  Winning the second race, at 21:49.
When they called us to line up for the third race, I was having serious thoughts about not running.  I did not feel as strong going up to the line this time, and had committed to sit back and ride this one easy.  Then the gun.  Then the running.  And then the storm.
A rain storm was rolling in as I finished the second race, and the winds kicked up.  By the time we made the first turn a quarter mile into the 3rd race, rain drops were starting to fall inconsistent, but certain.  I tucked into the pace of a guy wearing the Marine Corps marathon shirt and shorts.  We chatted and pulled each other through the race.  This time, I passed the other two women, the one who wanted to win and the track star, much earlier than I had in the other two races.  If it weren’t for the MCM guy, I would have dropped back pretty hard after the halfway point.  I remember feeling like I was pushing harder and running faster than the other two races, and then checking my watch to see that I was actually running…uh…30 seconds slower per minute than the last race.  I took first woman again, running a slow 22:02 for the third race.


I had to call my husband to tell him I was going to be late getting home because I “accidentally won the whole thing and need to stay for awards”.    He snorted and told me that no one accidentally wins anything, and that he was proud of me.

A couple weeks ago, a larger group join my husbands and me for the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven’s 5k.  The challenge here was to run the 5k faster than the Symphony performed Beethoven’s 5th. 

After the first two measures, the traditional “Bum BUm Bah Bummmm” the pistol sounded and we were off.  And for the first mile, I was in the lead.  On my shoulder was another woman, running a strong 6:50 min mile.  Behind her?  A large gap.  The park this run goes through is nothing but a giant hill.  It is one of the best overlooks for the city of Cincinnati.  I knew I wasn’t going to keep this pace.  She murmured that she could keep this up all day.  And then she dusted me.  Shit, she’s a strong runner.  I kept her in sight, struggling up the hills around the turn around, and back to head up the large hill we started on.  I was reeling her in halfway up the last hill, but she still had more in the tank and just dropped the hammer as she crested the top.  I poured on what I had left of speed, but it was like my legs were no longer connected to me.  The message to go faster was delivered, crumpled up and pointedly ignored.  I came in second overall, and second female overall, and first in age group with a well earned 21:40.  I think there’s a theme here, on my 5k times…  Anyway, I missed out on taking home a sweet Beethoven bust trophy by about 40 seconds.  But I did beat the song, which the Conductor would admit at the end, they cut two notes from to cheat.

And that’s my racing so far.  The long runs in my training plan… they’re happening… but they’re mostly me out by myself and lonesome and boring right now.  I desperately need my running group friends, and have no opportunities to get out to them.  The small running group I started up for the place I was working at before is still going strong – still meeting, and still bringing my husband out with them.  I couldn’t be more proud of that!  I’m trying to build a running group at my new work space, but with our hours jumping all over the place, and the fact that it’s almost an hour and a half drive one way for me to get there, I’m not sure I can get that off the ground as successfully.

How is your summer racing and running going?  Whats your fall race goal? 

 

Run Happy!

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