I Can Haz Kick?

So I officially graduated from the Couch to 5K program today. I ran my third run of week 9 around noon today, and I did 2.76 miles in 30 minutes - a 10:53 pace. I think I should be eligible for graduation gifts of some sort... I've asked the protocol nuns here at the Black Vatican to check on the proper procedure. Do Nike and New Balance have gift registries?

The really surprising thing about today's run wasn't the pace (which was a little bit faster than Monday) but the last 60 seconds. See, when the announcer guy on my iPod says "You have about a minute to go," I am usually struggling to just hang on until he says I can stop. Today however, I actually had enough energy to pick up the pace and run flat out for the last 60 seconds. I finally have reached the point where I have a "kick."

I used to watch runners on TV, usually during the Olympics, suddenly turn on the juice and just fly for the last 200 meters or so. I always thought it would be awesome to have that kind of kick; to pass other runners and snatch victory from their grasping fingers (I have competiton issues, ok?).

In all the years of forced running that I had to do for various sports, however, I was a comfortable back of the pack runner, with no desire to pass the speedier guys up front. I just wanted to finish quickly enough that the coach wouldn't make me do extra push-ups or something. I can honestly say that it NEVER seemed like a good idea to actually push at the end... unless I had some compelling reason to want to vomit when it was over.

Today, for some reason, it seemed like the thing to do. I know there are purists out there who will tell me that if I had enough energy for a kick, I could have been running harder for the whole distance, but screw them - it was awesome to put on that burst of speed and push to the finish. I finished strong, and it felt better than running ever has before. Not throwing up probably contributed to that feeling.

To keep things in prespective, I have to say that I'm still really damn slow. It's not like Adidas is calling for an endorsement deal (and it wouldn't do them any good anyway, I'm loyal to New Balance) but I do feel like a proper athlete again. After logging over 60 miles of running to get to this point, there has been a subtle change in terminology. No longer do I say, "I do some running." Now I say, "I'm a runner." It's a small change, but a significant one to me.

The Virtual 5k is this coming weekend, then I'll be joining Indian Princess and others in the upcoming Firecracker 5K on the 4th of July. I'm sure that the excitement of competition will push me to run a bit harder, but I really hope I have something left for a final kick. I'd like to finish strongly, looking like someone who runs regularly.

And I hope I don't vomit.


Regis said...

Way to go!


Flynn said...

I hope you don't vomit too... or at least not in the car ;)

A gift eh? How about not being out of breath after going up some stairs? That's been reward enough for me :)

Seriously though, good show. You've been pushing pretty hard to get to this point, cheers!

Indian Princess said...

Races are so much fun! You'll really feel like a runner when you pin on your bib for the first time;)

You worked really hard to get to this point so congrats! Congrats to all of the flock who've been training so hard lately. I'm really excited to run with everyone for the Firecracker 5k:)

WNG said...

Here's a sop to your competitve streak, you are kicking my ass in run times.

I'm going to blame it on my bad knee...

and then pout...

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