A Ten Mile Warmup for a 5K Run

Against all odds I dragged myself out of bed at 5 a.m. Sun­day morn­ing and got myself down to the start­ing point of the US Half Marathon. It’s a fan­tas­tic course start­ing on the Munic­i­pal Pier and going through the Mari­na to the Pre­sidio, around and up to the Gold­en Gate Bridge, then across, down a trail that leads under the Bridge and back up, then back to San Fran­cis­co on the West­ern side­walk and back to Aquat­ic Park.

I fin­ished in 2:06:33 (chip time… it took a minute and a half to reach the start­ing point after the gun, but I’m an “age grouper” so I can claim the start-to-fin­ish time. That time is over 10 min­utes slow­er than my time in 2004. I’m just not as fast as I was two years ago. Odd­ly, I’m at about the same amount of mileage for the year as I was at this time in 2004, but I think I know one of the fac­tors mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. I’ve been run­ning most­ly flat cours­es this year. Where I live I have easy access to the Embar­cadero, which is a love­ly run, all flat. In 2004 I lived in places near to hilly cours­es. Here I have Potrero Hill, but it real­ly does­n’t com­pare to a Twin Peaks run for train­ing. Prob­a­bly if I want to get my hill chops back, I’ll have to go to anoth­er part of the city to run.

My left metatarsal was act­ing up again. I could feel it hurt­ing by mile three and I was very con­cerned that I might have to drop out of the race, but I con­cen­trat­ed on my stride and keep­ing good form, and my foot nev­er got much worse. I’m start­ing to think that switch­ing to the «mod­er­ate sta­bil­i­ty» mod­el of Saucony Omni was not such a hot idea. I’m also con­sid­er­ing hav­ing a stride analy­sis done, to see what I should work on to improve my stride. If it makes me faster, OK that’s good, but if I can learn not to injure myself, that’s priceless.

The weath­er was amaz­ing on Sun­day. Sun­ny, but not too hot, and just enough fog to make for some real­ly dra­mat­ic views of the Gold­en Gate with­out get­ting in the way of the Sun which, in turn was not too hot.

As it turns out, the US Half was sched­uled for the same day as the Trea­sure Island Triathlon. I’m not in con­di­tion for an olympic dis­tance triathlon any­way, but that’s offi­cial­ly scrubbed from the list. I did recent­ly get in touch with my old swim coach, so per­haps ear­ly next year I can do an event in warmer water.

By mile ten I could feel that I was get­ting toward the end of my endurance and made a con­scious deci­sion to turn up the inten­si­ty a bit. No sense in hav­ing ener­gy left over, now is there? At mile twelve I was look­ing at that last stretch and won­der­ing if I’d make it. But I remind­ed myself that I’d already fin­ished, that I’d fin­ished the moment that I com­mit­ted to do the run, and that the only thing left was to enjoy the expe­ri­ence of watch­ing the last mile man­i­fest. If that sounds a lit­tle new-agey, well, OK. It’s how I like to look at things. Once I’ve embarked upon a path and tru­ly com­mit­ted to a course of action, the hard part is over. All that’s left is to watch the results of that com­mit­ment unfold.

The oth­er thing that I remind­ed myself was that I have a fan­tas­tic capac­i­ty to recov­er from exer­tion. Give me a short peri­od of rel­a­tive rest and I’m good to go again. So if tired I slow down and catch my breath at a low­er pace until I feel ready again, then push through. Nev­er­the­less, that last half mile around Aquat­ic Cove was a hard push. I can hon­est­ly say that I did­n’t have much kick left in me when I crossed that fin­ish line.

I have to con­fess a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ment in my time, but it’s more than over­shad­owed by the mem­o­ry of a real­ly fun race and the knowl­edge that I did the best I could on that day.

One Reply to “A Ten Mile Warmup for a 5K Run”

  1. See all the things you don’t
    See all the things you don’t tell me about? You can always use one more sup­port­er, can’t you? Way to go!

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