First of all - sickies are pretty much gone. I'm slightly more mucusy than usual, and there's a lingering throat tickle, but no more of that sick feeling. Thank you, zicam!!
I did circuit class Wednesday. I didn't push myself to use bigger weights than everyone else for the strength training exercises (my usual M.O., as I'm a bit of a showoff when I'm not running) and I slowed down a little on the cardio stuff, especially since I felt a bit woozy at one point. Thursday I had too long of a workday to squeeze in a run. Yesterday I took the day off. So I've been slacking a little....I call it tapering for the 10k. :)
This morning was the Girls on the Run 5k! It was a huge event. Apparently there are 53 local school/community GOTR groups. It was also freezing at 8:30 in the morning when I was supposed to be there. For whatever reason, I felt awkward wearing just tights while role-modeling for elementary school girls, so I put on a pair of workout pants from high school over the tights. (I still do not have official cold weather running pants). Wore a couple of layers of running shirts, gloves, and a headband. They told me to be there early, but there was pretty much nothing to do for a while. I saw a whole one person near my assigned school's sign, who turned out to be the father of one of the girls and had no clue who my running buddy was. God love these people, they had coffee for the adults, so I got some decaf for the sole purpose of keeping my body temperature above 40 or so. (I'd already had my coffee at home, and I was trying to avoid two possible unpleasant side effects: (a) jitteriness, and (b) speeding up of the, um, GI system.) Eventually I met the coach for my school, who was a tiny little ball of energy. I think she was the local GOTR coach who ran a 2:53 in the Chicago marathon recently.
So the coach introduced me to my buddy, a very sweet 9 year old first-timer with a heart painted on one side of her face and her name on the other. Actually, this lucky girl got two buddies, due to a volunteer surplus. We ran/walked on either side of her, per her request. At the beginning of the race, she said, "If I can survive math class, I can survive this!"
My fears of being assigned to a girl who left me in the dust were pretty much unfounded. We started out (after a very loud countdown from all participants that even had me pretty excited) at a pretty nice, easy jog. That lasted for a little bit until little buddy decided it was time to walk. We taught her the art of landmark running - picking a spot to start again, and then running to that sign or that tree or that traffic light. That worked for a while, although Little Buddy was pretty clearly a walk/runner. The other buddy was more of a pusher; I was the "oh, you don't want to run right now? OK, let's walk!" So Little Buddy pretty much had a running angel/devil on either shoulder. She had also been proclaiming her need for a drink since before the starting line. Somewhere after the first mile marker (which the other adult buddy proclaimed we crossed about 14 minutes in), Little Buddy spotted the water stop and SPRINTED away from us. We caught up with her and went back to the run/walk routine, but with a lot more walking. Big buddy tried to convince her to run more. Little Buddy responded, "I know my limits." Good thing to know, little buddy. She also taught us new strategies she had made up, such as the poodle walk (kind of a jog/prance), the swimming dog, and other dog-related running styles. I even barked while running. Little Buddy, as it turns out, wants to be a vet someday.
We got to mile 3. We were trying to persuade Little Buddy to run again. She had a strategy, she told us. First, she wanted to SEE the finish line. "And then you'll run?" asked Big Buddy. "No. Then I'll measure it, in my head, and pick a mark, and then I'll get there, and THEN my grand finale!" So when we spotted the finish line, sure enough, she picked a flagpole very very close to the finish line. "How about that pole?" asked the other Big Buddy. "No. That's NOT my mark!" Sure enough, we walked all the way to Little Buddy's flagpole and broke into a sprint for the finish line.
Little Buddy was quite hilarious throughout the race. She was shy for the first 2 minutes or so after I met her, and then she turned into a chatterbox. She's fascinated by science and history (her words!) and told me at the starting line that if we all were molecules, we'd be liquid. (If we were a gas, we'd be way far apart. If we were a solid, we'd be more scrunched together.) After the run, she told me she felt "great", and proudly proclaimed her time of 50 minutes, 34 seconds, after Big Buddy reported it to her.
Actually, it seemed like the majority of the girls ran our pace, pretty much, and they were loving it. Little Buddy said her friends at school wouldn't believe she finished a 5k. Goals....times....whatever. Those girls were happy to be out there accomplishing something that seemed so much bigger than themselves.
Isn't that why I run? To do it. To accomplish something that used to seem impossible. I promise I'll remember Little Buddy when I work toward the marathon next year. Maybe I'll even throw a poodle walk or two into my training.