My First Race Back…Just Like Riding a Bike

I raced a 5k last weekend and did pretty well for the amount of training that I’ve been able to do, 21:30 was the result. It had been 2 years since my last race. I found out that I was pregnant in November of 09′ and then my running just kinda tapered off to nothing for a long while. Thankfully I have been able to get in some consistent (but not high) mileage for the past 6 months. So I decided it was time to lace up the racing flats, even though I did not feel very prepared or speedy.

I went to bed the night before a little nervous. But I was confident that I could run about 7:00 minute pace. I did not loose sleep thinking about the race.  In fact I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go. The nervous feeling that I had felt so many times before was not really present. But the lack of nervousness did not prevent my body from, how shall I say it, preparing for a race. I had to visit the restroom 3 times during the first 30 minutes of being out of bed.

Stomach empty?  Check. I then began getting really jittery like I had a double shot of espresso, but I had not yet drank my routine cup of Earl Grey tea. Adrenaline present? Check. When I got to the race and began my warm-up I had to purposely run slow because I felt like all the adrenaline was going to surge me into race pace before I even toed the start line. Controlled warm-up? Check. Then came the final strides before the gun. I felt fluid and ready to run fast. Muscles firing? Check. Then came the gun.

I got off the line in a good position, not in front but also not behind anyone slower than me. My race splits were pretty even which is good. But anyone who has run a race knows that the last half is always hard no matter how fit you are or how good you feel at the gun.

The first mile felt good but I soon began wondering “why am I doing this?” The second mile burned and I though about stopping several times. And then all of a sudden the focus came.  Just like riding a bike, all the years of racing came back to me and the mental toughness took over. I locked eyes on the lady in front of me and made it my goal to keep pace with her, stride for stride.  Poor thing didn’t know she was a pawn in my race strategy. I passed her before the 2 mile mark and found my next victim.

After passing 3 more people, the fatigue began to really set in. At that point the strategy switched from “who can I pass?” to “focus on your form and stride length” and “finish with a kick.” I was able to do just that, finish with a kick. My legs were jell-o after that final push to the finish line but I felt great. Being able to compete after so much time off was wonderful and I hope to lace up the racing flats again soon.

So now the question is, does anyone else have a similar experience of taking time off from running and then getting back into racing?  Or maybe you have a race that really stands out?  We are looking for guest bloggers.  If you have a story or training advice email us at


Protected by WP Anti Spam


No comments yet.