Armed Forces Day 5k – Feels like the First Time

Hey hey hey! As many of you know if you’ve read my previous I don’t even know how many posts, I’m just about done with the long and treacherous recovery from a torn Achiles. I ran my first race on Saturday morning since the injury. I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to do and how I hoped it would go.

I woke up bright and early at 6:00. Plenty of time to sip a cup of coffee and think about the race. I’ve run plenty of races in my time, but it’s been a long time since I had so many worries and doubts. My tendon feels fine, but it felt fine when it ruptured on me too.

I was given the green light to run hard, but not race. I know myself pretty well and I know that there’s a fine line between running hard and racing. I also know that I’m ULTRA COMPETITIVE. The thought of trying to run a hard race without running TOO hard a race seemed tricky to me.

I got to the race plenty early to warm up (I legit do that now) and saw lots of familiar faces all welcoming me back to racing. That helped relax me quite a bit. I was so happy to BE back. It’s been quite a long road to get to this point.

I walked into the starting area and picked a spot near the front but not with the main competitors. I didn’t want to get caught up in racing. Of course, a few people asked what I was doing “back there with them” and some of the people up front coersed me into moving forward. So much for laying low.

Right on time, we took off. I decided to run by feel and not look at my watch. The race conditions were wet, but the rain miraculously stopped for us (the kids run wasn’t so lucky). One person went down hard early in the race (I heard the thud and the scraping behind me) and several kids that had no business being where they were did their 100 yard sprint and petered out.

The race started downhill (yay) and that helped me feel GREAT. I told my buddy Jordan that “I felt better than I’ve ever felt!” and I meant it. I felt so alive! I stayed with the front runners for a while, but then I gave myself an unpep talk and asked myself what the hell I thought I was doing. I backed off a bit, but kept going. I crossed the 1st mile marker in 6:38, which was a bit faster than I’ve run all year. Yikes!

I steadied out in mile 2 and ran a 7:17. That’s actually about the pace that I planned to try and average for the race. I figured I could maintain that pace without getting TOO dumb or crazy.

The problem with an out and back where you started downhill is that you end uphill. The course kicked my butt in a way that hasn’t happened in quite a long time. My lungs just weren’t up to the challenge of climbing back up to the D-Day Memorial. I took a walk break. It was a little one, but a walk break nonetheless. I figured I’d earned it. Nothing was going to take the joy away from my first race back.

Mile 3 ended up being a 7:53. I know that doesn’t sound great, but I’ll take it. My longest run this year has been 4 miles, so racing 3.1 is no easy task. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness from running that I haven’t felt in a LONG time.

I ended up officially finishing in 22:09 and 15th overall. That was good enough for 3rd in my age group (curse those 10 year age groups). I happily accepted that medal (which was given to me my an old Marine and a WWII Navy vet).

I have a lot of work to do to get back to the 19 minute 5k that I was trying to break before the injury. I will be back though. I said I’d PR a race in 6 months from when I came back and that clock started today.

Running buddy Robbie and me. Back at it.

16 Replies to “Armed Forces Day 5k – Feels like the First Time”

  1. Great job! You ran a faster 5k coming back from an injury than I’ve ever ran in my life! πŸ˜› I’m sure you will be back to your old times in no time. Also I love the “doo-rag” you’re wearing… my dad always runs wearing one and he has a red, white and blue one as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your race and an excellent time for the first one back! I mean, you haven’t been able to run much and couldn’t push the pace, plus it was probably kind of hot and the race wasn’t flat. You totally earned that medal and deserve it, and it’s even better that you got it from a WWI Vet because there aren’t many of them still alive anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. I really love talking to the old vets. They have many stories to tell and lessons to teach. That generation gave a lot of themselves for this country.


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