I’m back doing races again, and the situation when I’m running is all too familiar. I find myself at mid-race in the back of the pack alongside the people who both run and walk the race.
They zip past me at a good clip, then stop some distance ahead of me, tire out and break into a walk. I keep going like the Energizer Bunny in slow motion and catch up with them. They then start running again and repeat the process. For many, I serve as their “rabbit.” They see me again and figure it’s time to get it in gear and start running.
While this can be frustrating for me, I guess I missed it. It felt great to be back running a race again when I did the All in for Autism 5K in Bellevue on April 29. I finished without much pain as I recorded one of my slowest 5K times ever. There was no pain the next day either. It was a good test of my recently fused left ankle.
Getting through my first post-surgery race like this makes me feel that the Dec. 18 surgery was a smart move. It was only a 5K, but I got a workout, and being able to do shorter races is going to have to be good enough. I’ve done 21 marathons, but No. 22 is pretty darn iffy. We’ll see about getting to 40 half-marathons — I’d like to; I’m at 38 now. Point is, I can run more years if I don’t try to do many longer races.
Was this race longer than 5K?
This race, organized by the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club, has had different names in the past. I ran it in 2013 when it was the Bellevue 10K/5K and pretty much the same course. You start at the Downtown Park near Bellevue Square and do a triangular loop, running east toward Interstate 405, then south to the Mercer Slough, and the north again up Bellevue Way to the Downtown Park.
The course is largely flat with two tough hills, including the final stretch up Bellevue Way to the finish line. The Bellevue Way stretch is very familiar to me and brought back memories — it was the final mile of the old Seafair Marathon that I ran four straight years (2005-08).
I ran the entire distance and finished 372nd out of 897 finishers, which sounds good, but it was a slow field overall. In fact, I could have stopped for breakfast at mid-race and still not finished last.
My time was 45:27, which beats previous times for only those races where I walked part or all of the course. According to race results, the pace was 13:29 per mile, but that is wrong. Such a pace would have meant a faster time. The pace was wrong for everyone in the race results, unless the distance was longer than a 5K, which it felt like. Full results are here.
Regardless, I will start working to get my 5K time under 40 minutes again. My 5K PR, run in 2005, is 24:32 (7:53 per mile), by the way. Thirteen years and two surgeries later, I am a lot slower.
The weather for the race was great — dry and temperatures in the high 60s. A combined 1,250 people finished the 10K and 5K races, and the event was for an important cause. Proceeds went to Kindering, a Bellevue-based organization that provides education and therapy to children with disabilities. It was perfect for my first race since last July (and my 214th race since 2001).
What’s next? Bicycling
I plan to run another race in May, and am still deciding which one. In the meantime, I am doing the Seattle Bike-n-Brews bicycle ride coming up this Sunday. It’s a 27- or 37-mile jaunt through Seattle’s industrial district and points south, and starts and ends at the Georgetown Brewing Co.
Yes, I may have a beer at a brewery rest stop or after the race. But the real appeal is that it’s a relatively flat ride, is around 25-30 miles, and is an event I’ve never done before. I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks for reading! Hard to believe I was on a scooter only a few months ago. Very grateful to be able to run again.