On Racing.

June 25, 2010 at 6:56 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away) | 8 Comments

To clarify something about yesterday’s post: the emotions of the Suck have really faded, and I’m left with this sense of vagueness. Interest, but also fear. Because, yeah, it was bad last time.


I think (and of course I can change my mind at any time) that it’s going to be easier this time around. Emotionally at least. Because my biggest fear when we were doing ART the first time around was that it wasn’t going to work and I’d never be a mom.

And that fear never came true – I AM a mom.

And I know that we’ll be all right, the three of us, if I never manage to get pregnant again.


I signed up for a ridiculous amount of races this summer. Seriously, I have PLANNED a 5 mile race and two 5ks in July. August I’m signed up for a 7 mile race, but I’m looking for a few more 5 milers and maybe a 10k. And in September I have at LEAST a 10k planned, though I’d love to see if I can get a 10 miler too.

So last night I had my first of my own 5ks – did one last week with my friend Heather which, I discovered, was almost better than having dinner out. Because we spent about the same amount of money, had a GREAT chat, and got some exercise in. It was a really good time.

But last night I was running for me. Because I’m trying to work on my pace such that I can do a half marathon in 2 hours.

And it’s funny. In my training runs I easily meet or beat my target pace. But the last 5 mile race I did I had a ROUGH go of it – started too fast, then spent the rest of the time trying to get my HR back into the “target” zone.

So races are a different beast altogether for me, apparently.

And so I’ve really wanted to find a strategy for racing which gets me to my target pace without killing me. Where I can run the whole damn thing without feeling like I’m going to die.

So these races I’ve signed up for are to get me there.

Last night the race was in Gloucester. And all afternoon people were telling me that there was a severe thunderstorm alert, including a tornado watch. But I figured that there was no harm driving up to the race site, if it were dangerous to hold the race then they’d cancel it, and I was only out my $20 and the time it took me to get there and home.

So I got dressed and ready to go. And okay, so when I went to my car, it had JUST started raining. And by “raining” I mean deluge of water which made it hard to see.

I was amazed, though, when I got there, that the rain had pretty much slowed down. And by the time I got my race packet and my number? It was as if the downpour hadn’t even happened.

I had forgotten my iPod last night, too. Which, honestly, last year I’d have wanted to bag the whole thing.

But this year? Lately I’ve noticed during my runs that I’ve zoned out on the music. There have been runs where I’ve gotten home and can’t remember which songs I’ve heard. So I figured it would be a good test to see if I didn’t mind running completely on my own without any sort of distraction.

So the gun went off, and I started running with everyone else. And I’m not sure if it was the lack of an iPod, but I found my OWN pace pretty quickly within the first mile. Where I felt like I COULD run faster, but I wanted to hold back for later.

My heart rate, though, which usually is around 165 during my runs? 180. No joke. I averaged in the high 170s the WHOLE run. But since I felt pretty good, I figured I’d just go with it.

And damned if I didn’t maintain that initial pace the whole time. Over the three short-but-steep hills. Down through the town, to the pier and back, and back the same way. I skipped the first water break because I was feeling good. And at mile 2.5, I was starting to get tired. And I briefly thought about stopping for water, mostly because I wanted to stop running because it was getting hard.

But I didn’t want to stop, because I knew that I was getting tired, and if I stopped to walk I’d never finish in my goal.

So damned if I didn’t run the entire 3.1 miles at a 9:16 pace. I finished, according to my watch (timed when I crossed the actual starting line) in 28:45.

My best 5k time ever.

And seriously.

10 months ago, I ran my FIRST EVER 5k. Where I ran the first 1.5 miles then walk/ran the rest.

My time then? 32:57.

In less than a year, I’ve shaved 4 minutes off my 5k time.

Just so amazing to see what my body can DO.



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  1. Just updated!

    Congrats on the run. Sounds like you are getting comfortable with it. There must certainly be a different psychological element to the race vs training.

    And I’m glad the fear factor of ART has faded somewhat.


  2. K – the best part of that post, “And I know that we’ll be all right, the three of us”. Not JUST the three of us, but the three of us. Indeed you are complete.

    Second, do you realize that training yourself and sticking to a regimen and then pushing beyond your walls of comfort is something most people simply cannot do? They 1) don’t know such a thing is possible; 2)are lazy; and 3) don’t care. You are none of those. When you lose sight of what you’re capable of you must remember that you are miles beyond what not only the average person is, but what the above-average person is. You’re doing everything right. If it makes you happy, it’s right for you. Congratulations – you seem to have found a balance I’m searching for.

  3. I’ve never been a runner but I find that I so enjoy reading your posts about the way you are training. Maybe it’s comforting to see that working at something and working your way through the struggles CAN get you to your goals. Which is so unlike what it is to go through ART.

  4. Congratulations Serenity!

    When I was in law school I ran 5k three times a week. I don’t talk about that here or anywhere because I have let myself get so out of shape it is unbelievable. And there is no way I could run even 10 minutes now. But Serenity I think you have inspired me. Seriously. I have been thinking it in the past few months reading your running posts. I have been gradually getting in shape and losing weight since January… so far I have lost 9 lbs. I am currently only 5 lbs away from my pre-Caden weight. Which is still about 10 lbs from my pre-fertility treatment and running days weight. But you know, I am going to start right now. Today. So.. how did you get started. Did you do the walk/run cycle or did you just run as far as you could and then walk the rest and gradually increase your running time?

  5. I’m impressed by the running. I’m the opposite of a runner, so it always amazes me that people do it!

    I think that what you’re saying about going back to the RE makes sense. It’ll be okay, but what if it could be better? What if, though, it’s worse? There’s always those fears….and I have no good answers (as you know!). Good luck!

  6. You are amazing! Congrats!

    I love that you want to break two hours for the half- that is my goal too! I missed it by under three minutes last year- I ran out of energy in the final seven kilometres. My runs this year are faster than at the equivalent point last year, so I feel I am mostly on track right now.

    I really like what the previous commenter said about reminding yourself that most people are too lazy to challenge themselves. It can be so easy to get caught up in times and heart rates, and worry about personal bests. Make sure to remind yourself just how awesome it is that you are even running! I’m having to say this a lot right now as I haven’t adjusted to the heat and my runs have slowed down quite a bit.

    Also, my heart rate is always SKY high during races- it is the adrenaline. So as long as you can maintain your pace and your breathing, it’s probably fine. I sometimes find my heart rate monitor doesn’t even work in big races- maybe too many other ones around interfering with it- so I run more by feel and time.

    I ran both my half-marathons without an ipod. But I do like it for the long, slow distance training runs.

  7. Congratulations! That is awesome you are a real inspiration. We have the City to Surf coming up in the next month, it’s a 14km run. I was invited to join a team to raise funds for Rainbows for Kate but I decided I was no where near fit enough even to walk it, so I have given myself a year to get fit just to walk it and join the team next year. So reading your efforts is really inspiring. All the best with your goal.

  8. So freaking fantastic. Thanks for doing all the running first, I don’t know that I’d have gotten back into it without reading your amazing progress.

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