Sunday, October 28, 2007

The family that runs together stays together

Hometown Heros 5K, Bridgewater, NJ - Saturday, October 27, 2007

That's my dad's favorite quote...and I have to agree, he has a point there. Though, I've realized that to coax and cajole DH into running can sometimes lead to not-so-amicable results.

I had been recovering from a slew of itsy-bitsy injuries...a nagging achilles tendon, a sciatic nerve flare-up, the beginnings of chondromalacia patella...all courtesy my foolish attempt at following the FIRST training plan (a targeted training plan, focusing on 3 quality runs per week + cross training, designed for seasoned marathoners)...for my first marathon!!! My half mary left me feeling so on top of the world and invincible, that I immediately put into practice a very ambitious training plan of increasing my distance and time simultaneously - with disastrous results.

Limping back to normalcy, I threw out a crazy idea to DH that we should both compete in a 5K together. He good-naturedly agreed. So, I picked a local 5K - the Hometown Heroes at Bridgewater, NJ - and we each launched into strategizing how to defeat the other. My wonderful loyal family of course, rallied behind the son-in-law, leaving me to fight my lonely battle.

My strategy: run as fast as my legs will carry me.
DH's strategy: conserve energy during training (this translates to minimal to no training), follow wifey for the entire distance at the race, then leap ahead at the finish.

If he won, he would get to eat all the junk he wanted to, an entire day, with no "eat-healthy live-long" lectures.
If I won, well, I just got to eat whatever I wanted...which was no big deal, because I never had any restrictions, anyway.

Keep in mind DH, a sprinter at the Indian junior national level, is bored stiff by long distance runs, so his running has been limited to my convincing and nagging prowess.

The day of the race dawned, gloomy, wet...and pouring. The race was scheduled at 10 am and we reached the venue at 8:45 am, to pick up our packet. This was an informal local race, no fancy chip timing, so a number of people registered on the day of the race. We got a nice bag each, with lots of chachkis....pens and pads, a kids' cross word book, chapstick, muscle rub, caps and T-shirts. We warmed up in the rain and were drenched before the start.

The course was slightly uphill in the beginning. My legs felt awkward and stiff...recovery is never as smooth as you hope it would be! DH and I stayed close, running at a manageable pace, but I was able to break away a mile or so into the race...and maintained my pace. I found I could not accelerate, and did not try to. Towards the end, several people overtook me...and I found I was just happy to be running a race again.

I completed at the same pace as I started, and grabbing an orange and a bottle of water, returned to cheer DH to the finish. He romped in a little later, drenched and dripping, making a valiant attempt to accelerate at the end.

We hung around for the "Awards", which included several lucky many, in fact, that even DH and I who are usually quite unlucky at these things, ended up winning a mug, a gift coupon to Carino's Italian grill and a sack of Lone Star peanuts. DH finished third in his age category (his jaw dropped when they called out his name) and I was first in mine.

As we drove away, the relentless rain slowly had had the last laugh!

In a gesture of generosity, I offered to buy DH some of his favorite sweets, but he refused my "pity offer". He was a real sport to join me in the race, though.

It felt so good to lay around on the couch that afternoon after a shower, watching TV and munching peanuts in our race T-shirts.

Hometown Heros 5K, Bridgewater, NJ - Saturday, October 27, 2007
DH: 29:33 - 9:31 pace
59/99 overall; 46/62 men; 3/4 in 30-34 age group; Bib 13

Me: 25:23 - 8:10 pace
42/99 overall; 4/36 women; 1/3 in 30-34 age group; Bib 73

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