Charlie Ban had agreed to pace me and we left the starting line trailing a number of folks donning sweatpants and IPods. My legs felt awkward as I haven't run a 5:0anything in exactly one year, but soon the awkwardness was gone and my legs began to race. I asked Charlie about the pace and he seemed to think it was legit. A cracked a slight smile and then bore down towards the Capital Building. Charlie motioned that we were now running too fast and I replied (to myself) with a "so be it". We hit mile one in 5:03 and I knew I'd be under 16 so long as I didn't fall completely apart. Perhaps I could run closer to 15:30? I shook the numbers from my head and instead focused on hitting my stride and working the tangents. I felt strong, but not fast. I hit mile 2 in 10:13 and then tried to pick the pace up some, to no avail. Charlie beckoned me to push and soon he was on the sidelines, his 12 minutes of workout complete. I lifted my knees and tried to drive forward, pushing the gas pedal down as best I could, but without jumping into the next gear, which was hugely important. Today was not the time to go into the well or to try anything stupid. Again, I tried to run strong and not fast. I hit mile 3 in 15:27 and pushed just a tad to ensure I ran sub-16. I finished in 15:57, a pace far slower for over triple the distance I covered one year ago, but this is far better than watching people race. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines and I want to get back and be a part of this movement we have going here in DC. It's time to return and this was a perfect step in that direction.
My leg/hammy/glute/injury area felt fine during the race and as soon as I finished, I ditched the flats and donned the trainers. Charlie and I ran down to Hains Point and completed the day's work. Later my IT band flared up some, but after some aggressive massage, all pain dissipated. By afternoon I was walking around just fine with my head focused on what might be next.
So, what is next? I think it's time to start running some workouts, but I'll NEED to double down on my strength exercises/stretches. I've got my alarm clock set for 5:30 from now on n running days (Tu-Th) so that I get this in pre-run. The new norm seems to be to press ahead and then see how I feel.
On Monday morning, a time of press, my legs feel brilliant.