“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”
I don’t love 5K’s.
When I started running more distance races, 5ks became less appealing in general. It feels like pain, pain, pain…then as soon as you start to get into a rhythm, it’s over.
Sometimes they feel just plan pointless.
A few months back, I got an email at work saying our company was organizing a group to run a 5K – the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K. Before my marathon training, I was running a 5K almost every week with my running club. This is no longer the case, as my shorter runs require more mileage. However when I got the email, I thought it couldn’t hurt to throw a fast extra run into the week. I knew I would be deep in marathon training, but I thought it might be a good change to spend some time with co-workers outside of work, at the same time doing something I liked. At past companies I’ve run the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and it was always a good time, with the run usually followed by a night out at a bar in downtown Boston.
This race was actually very well run. It took place in South Boston near Carson beach. There was even a pint glass for finishers, which I always like. I was nervous at first since I’m used to having a car at races and I also don’t know Southie too well. I took the subway (the T) from work and packed light so I could take advantage of the free bag check. There wasn’t a lot of communication or information from work on if we would find a place to meet or how we would pick up our bib. Then there was the shirt. They handed me a thick, 100% cotton Hanes beefy tee shirt to wear to promote the company and show we were part of a team. I have no problem wearing a shirt with a company logo, but running in a rough cotton shirt on an evening where it was close to 80 degrees and humid made me a little cranky. I sucked it up and went with it, as many co-workers did.
The course was an out and back on a flat road. It was a fast course where you could definitely PR. I did not do my best. I was deep in week five of my training and sore muscles made it hard for me to push. The July air felt oppressive and that damn shirt was just bunching uncomfortably around my waist like an ill-fitting uniform. At mile two I thought, this is really hard, and I felt an immense hatred for all 5Ks. I stopped at both water stops just to dump water on myself. Then during mile three…well, we’re all runners here right? I had to poop. My company also happened to have one it’s summer socials right before I left to go to the race and I didn’t want to deny myself any of the passed hors d’oeuvres. Or the rum punch (I only had one). My pace slowed down quite a bit and now I just annoyed. I quickly told myself I didn’t have to kill myself at this 5K and that I had been working hard all week – this was just another training run. As I crossed the finish line, I was touched as one of my co-workers was waiting to hand me a bottle of water and do a cool-down walk with me. He is a much faster runner than me and I always get the impression he thinks I don’t take my running seriously enough. It was nice to get his support after feeling so crappy at the end. As I was grabbing my pint glass, a complete stranger came up to me and said, “I saw you on the course and you were flying! I was trying to catch up.” Well that was really nice of her and the first time that someone has said that to me out of the blue like that. I wouldn’t call a 28 minute 5K flying, but I’ll take the compliment. I always forget that there is usually always someone trying to catch you, even on days you don’t feel that fast.
Co-workers were kind of scattered at the end and there wasn’t a definitive plan for a post-race meet up. I ended up getting a drink and some food with one woman from the office, but I was disappointed at how it didn’t feel like we were part of a team. All in all, it was nice to get an extra run in during the week and running in Southie was pretty cool and a nice change for me.
I still don’t love 5Ks.