You take the good, you take the bad ...
It's really difficult to find the right word or phrase to describe my current state of running.
Saturday's Stars and Stripes 5K in Howland, Ohio, was, by pure overall timing standards, the worst of the four I've done. I kind of expected that anyway.
I didn't approach it as a race though. There was no reason to since I'm not an racing shape. It was, however, an opportunity to right some wrongs so I could walk away with some plans to get back to better shape and to be in a better place mentally.
My overall goal was to turn this into a progressive run -- I haven't done much speedwork in the past few months, so running every mile faster than the last for a 5K seemed like a good basic place to start.
After accidentally leaving my watch at my in-laws house, my goal became even more challenging ... or did it make my approach better? I've always believed in running by feel rather than what's watch tells me, but it's been so long since I've had that approach.
At mile 1, the clock read 8:25. It felt slow, but that's a good thing with this approach. At mile 2, the clock read 16:25 (8 minutes for mile 2). At the finish, it was 24:49 (a 7:38 pace for the final 1.1).
It felt amazing to finish a race strong. It's been way too long since I walked away from an event feeling good about the second half of a race. In the past two years I've started way too many races too fast and end up being mad at myself for a horrible pacing strategy.
I am, however, disappointed that I was a couple of minutes slower than last year's event and that I've let myself get out of racing shape. I think that a race like this in which I'm ecstatic over one part of it and not so happy about another part is a good thing.
I need the motivation to get back to a level I used to be, so perhaps this is a spark to get to better things. I'll only know by running more and racing again relatively soon ...