Ok, so it wasn’t a time chip PR, where you can google my name and confirm, but it makes me want to run a 5k NOW in order to see what I get!
I was running home yesterday, the weather was in the mid-50’s (the perfect running weather for me), and I wasn’t trying to be as fast as I could, but I wanted to be able to keep it below 11 min/miles. Since I knew I wanted to push myself, instead of taking it easy, I told Karl to pick me up in Pentagon City, but not by the Pentagon Memorial where he usually waits for me, but on the other side of the pedestrian tunnel, to make sure I get 3 miles in, instead of the 2.8 I end up with when he walks part of the way.
First, a disclaimer: half of my first mile is a gradual downhill, going from Pennsylvania Av. to Constitution. After that, it’s mainly flat, but still more gradual downhills than uphills (there’s no really big spike in elevation though) towards Pentagon City. Said that, I’ve done this route a few times by now, and all that freaking downhill didn’t really do anything, so I’ll take my PR!
Anyway, after my Garmin picked up a signal, off I went. The first mile? Beeped at 9:15! My fastest mile yet!!!
Of course, I couldn’t keep up that pace, but I still wanted to keep it in the 10-something. I finished my 3.11 mile run, with a 9:51 average pace. True, I wanted to pass out as soon as I stopped, and walked around the parking lot for a couple of loops to cool down and get the dizziness in check. But that’s 29 seconds/mile off my best 5k pace.
I couldn’t believe it! Last year, before injuries and my burn, my best 5k pace was a 10:20 pace, at the Crystal City Twilighter in late July. I had run 8 miles that morning, then got a PR that night on the race.
The next day, my parents arrived in the country, Karl was at my sister to meet them, dinner was ready, I was sitting by the table, and as my sister brought in the cheesy chicken casserole, the dish slipped out of her hand, landed on my legs.
Ambulance was called, I spent 4 hours in the ER with Karl and my dad (great ice-breaker, no?), and was out of commission with second degree burns on the inside of my left leg (next to my knee, which make healing even harder), for almost 2 weeks. I didn’t make it to work for a week and a half, because I couldn’t even get up, the pain was unbearable and the pain relievers knocked me out for hours.
When the burn finally started to heal and I could walk without pain (exactly 2 weeks later), I picked up my half-marathon training where I left it, putting a neoprene knee brace around the bandages, and attempted to run, only to crash at mile 2. I still finished my scheduled 10 miles of the day, but with a LOT of walking and quite a few new blisters. (Today I have a scar, that I’m still hoping will fade. My leg looks gross.)
And yep, 2nd degree burns are more painful than 3rd degree ones (since the 3rd degree burns through the nerves that would be detecting such pain). It was the most pain I’ve ever been in my life (and hopefully it’ll stay that way).
Anyway, I was able to get back to it enough that 6 weeks after the burn, my one pre-30 goal of running the Half Marathon without walking was achieved. But I had injury after injury after that (the pain in my heel, then a sprained ankle, and so on). My already super-slow pace slowed down considerably, and I was never really able to get myself back to the shape I was in July since I kept getting new injuries (like the newly-found hip pain) that forced me to take breaks from running.
Having been able to achieve my fastest 3 mile yet yesterday? A relief! A light at the end of the tunnel, that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to have slightly faster runs later.
I definitely can’t keep up that pace yet for 10 miles (or even a 10k, I’m afraid!), but I’ll take baby steps as I get them.
And yep, the mid-50’s degree weather was definitely a huge help — there’s no way in hell I would have had that pace if it was 80 degrees out. But as I said, baby steps.
It looks like my legs are finally getting strong again…