Back in the Game

As I laced up my racing shoes this past weekend for my first timed trial since the Marine Corps Marathon, all signs were pointing to a terrible performance:

  • My much faster racing partner who was going to pace me to a new PR had to bow out Sunday morning because of a massive hangover to save some orphans from a tree.
  • We were out of bananas, so I subbed my traditional pre-race breakfast of toast, peanut butter and banana slices for toast, peanut butter and butter. Begins with the same letter but arguably less nutritiously dense.
  • Running late, I had to jog to the park, plow through baggage and sprint my way to my corral. Warming up is one thing, but starting a 5-miler panting may not be sound coaching advice.

Heck, even the skyline looked ominous.

photo 1 (11)
I spy with my little eye Gozer the Gozarian.

I don’t usually believe in signs – unless you’re talking the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan evangelical alien thriller, which I totally believe in, hence my decision to keep a full glass of water by my bed at all times – but Sunday morning’s omens seemed suspiciously foreboding.

And why wouldn’t they? After taking more than a month off speed work, proper nutrition and overall decency as a human being following my first 26.2, I assumed I’d arrive at the starting line with sluggish muscles, an unhappy digestive tract and little motivation to push myself to a new PR.  I mean, come on people, I’m tired. I just ran a freaking marathon.

What I failed to remember was that – oh yeah – I just ran a freaking marathon. My recent lack of interval training and carbo-loading aside, I’m still in arguably the best shape of my life, and Sunday’s Join the Voices 5-miler reminded me of that. I felt solid, I felt strong, I felt fast and – more importantly – I felt three full minutes melt off my 5M personal best. Finishing in 38:46 might not have been fast enough to earn me a medal from race MC Tony Danza, but did serve to remind me that 1. I still love racing and 2. Tony Danza hasn’t aged a day.

Hold me close, young Tony Danza.
Hold me close, young Tony Danza.

But I’m not the only one back in the game. Sunday’s race also marked the return of my speedy girl Leigh-Ann, who is significantly faster than me when not recovering from massive foot surgery.  Welcome back, kiddo. Central Park has missed you.

This will probably be our engagement photo. Watch your mailbox for a save the date.
This will probably be our engagement photo. Watch your mailbox for a save the date.

Finally, Sunday’s race allowed me to knock the first goal off my three-pronged year-end resolution list:

  • Achieve a new PR.
  • Eat more homemade food.
  • Steal this dog.

My other two goals are significantly more challenging, especially since “eating less processed food” and “sitting within arm’s length of your co-workers’ Combos” are pretty much mutually exclusive.  Ah well. Puppynapping it is.

Has anyone else who ran a fall marathon returned to racing? How’d it go for you?


4 thoughts on “Back in the Game

  1. Shortly after running the MCM I signed up for the Annapolis Half. I wanted to avoid the winter funk that I had last year and keep up with my training. I also committed to switch to Chi Running and this was my first race with my new approach. So far, so good. Looking forward to a great 2013.

    I had a real challenge at work today. There was leftover fruit and cake in the break room – I opted for the fruit. I consider that a great accomplishment.

    1. Hey, well done! It’s the small victories that keep us in shape. Good luck this holiday season. Last Christmas break, I was training for a January half. Best motivator of my life.

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