Posted by: Ingrid | May 18, 2014

Book N’ Trilogy 5K: We don’t always get what we want

Our scene opens on Friday night in a little bar near Lansing or Ann Arbor.  Runner Girl is sipping water, so as to maintain her wiry running figure.  Her counterpart, Runner Dude is tall, blond, and drinking beer. 

Runner Girl: So I hear there’s a 5K tomorrow morning in a little town nearby.  $50 gift card to the winners.  I was thinking that I am getting bored sleeping in until noon on Saturdays.  Plus I need some new $50 laces for my really expensive running shoes.  I was thinking we could carpool, stand around in our running gear, and look intimidating.

Runner Dude: Sounds good to me.  You will wear your compression socks, right?  I hear people are intimidated by them, especially moms who are trying to run fast after having kids.

Runner Girl: Absolutely.  If there’s anything better than intimidating people with my compression gear it’s showing up at small 5K’s and winning by minutes, dashing other people’s hopes of ever being as fast as me.

Runner Dude:  For real.  I’m sure there are a few old guys I can beat while looking like I never even broke a sweat.  I have to agree though, being faster than everyone else is even better than being good looking and young.

They clink beer steins/water glasses, and return to their respective apartments where they go to bed at 2:00 am, just for fun.

May 17, 2014: 5:50 am

Runner Mom wakes up to her alarm.  She nurses the baby.  Pumps an extra 9 ounces of milk.  Wonders if the baby will need to nurse again when she is running in exactly three hours.  She swigs some coffee, pulls on her shoes that should have been changed last month and wonders which two sports bras (all roughly a year older than her oldest child) she should pull on today.  Then she and her husband wake up two more small children, get everyone into the minivan, and drive and hour to the 5K she stupidly signed up for.

The moral of yesterday’s 5K?  You don’t always get what you want, what you train for, or what you pay for.

I signed up for this particular race because I needed to run one this weekend and the one nearby was cancelled.  This particular run supports the local library and (I won’t lie) the past few years has been won by women who ran slower than I am capable of running.  So my goals A through F all involved winning, a PR, or at least the same time I ran a month ago.  I put in my training this last month, despite it being Husband’s end of the semester push.  Despite him being gone for 3 days unexpectedly.  I scrounged for sitters, paid them out of my “mad money” so that I could do the running I needed to.  I worked hard.  I was hoping for something good.

The day dawned around 40 degrees, because we are in Michigan and it hasn’t decided Winter is over yet.  I struggled to get my head in a good place for the run, but felt like I managed.  Pancakes for the whole family were thrown in as part of the registration, so off the five of us went because it was going to be FUN.  We left in plenty of time for me to warm up but did not anticipate road construction half a mile from the start.  Eventually I got out of the van as it sat in traffic and did part of my warm up over to the packet pickup.


It was cold.  Not windy and not rainy, but definitely colder than I prefer.  The boys loved the Gecko mascot.  That was pretty much the highlight for them.


Start time was delayed because of the road construction, which gave me opportunity to line up behind Runner Girl and to realize that I really am intimidated by people who wear compression gear.  There was another woman (who ended up turning off for the 10K) who was in pink compression stockings and I felt the same vibe from her.  Runner Girl was clearly a “real runner”.  If you couldn’t tell by her build you could tell by her athletic gear, not pretentious, just obvious that she was on a team.

The announcer mentioned 3-4 times about running 3.1 and 6.2 –ish miles and to not come looking for him if the course wasn’t spot on.  I should have taken him seriously because by mile 1 it was obvious that it was 0.1 longer than marked.  We took off and both women were ahead of me at once (5K and 10K start at the same time and run part of the same course).  I tried to concentrate on running my race.  I ran the first kilometer in 3:54 and didn’t feel bad.  The first mile was 6:28 but then the second was 6:42.  We followed some trails with little hills, some residential roads, and ended with a lap on the track.  When the race courses split I was ecstatic to see that Pink Compression Lady was running the 10K.  Was I the first woman?


No.  There in the distance was a runner who looked like a little boy.  Not a boy, just Runner Girl gliding along in her early-twenties body.  She won in 19:06.

5k run

I finished with 3.22 on my Garmin, in 20:55.  Fifth person to finish, second woman.  I know that it sounds melodramatic to say that I was devastated, but I was.  To have not even run a personal best after putting in the work and trying to arrange schedules so that I could get in my running left me incredibly disappointed.  Worse than that, the frustration and anger, the words that I want to say to myself all bumping around inside like a pinball machine, left me upset and wanting to cry.

My family ate their pancake breakfast.  I decided that I did not get to eat sub-par pancakes to celebrate a sub-par race.  Husband insisted that it was fine and the morning was fun.  All I felt was that I’d wasted 5 hours of my family’s life dragging them to a run.  No more driving farther than 20 minutes to get to races for me.

In retrospect, I know that there will be races like this.  Things won’t always go my way, even if I feel like I put in the hard work.  If you subtract the extra 0.1 mile I ran my time is decent.  And when I got home I googled Runner Girl and, behold, she had a record (atheletic, not criminal) so at least I got very soundly beat by a real collegiate runner.

Back to the drawing board, for now.




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