Despite my previous entry extolling the virtues of running, I haven't been running much lately. Holiday blues and distractions have left me listless and fatigued. But boyziggy really wanted to do another race together, and as the Free Farm Stand is on hiatus for a few weeks, I have a few free Sundays. Today's DSE 10K at Aquatic Park fit the bill perfectly, as it was within easy walking distance and I didn't have to do any serious training for that distance.
Unfortunately I did virtually no training, went to bed in a bad mood and didn't fall asleep until after 2 a.m. So when Ziggy got up at 7 I initially told him I didn't think I could do the race. But by 7:30 I was out of bed, doing my morning stretches and hungry enough for breakfast, so I figured I might as well get out and run. Ziggy left early to get in a swim as part of an informal triathlon effort. I followed later, arriving around 8:40 for the 9 a.m. start.
I was nervous upon approaching the registration desk, as this would be my first DSE race officially signed up as male. Previous attempts to race without specifying my sex convinced me that I should consent to be binary for racing purposes, especially now that I've been on testosterone for nearly a full year. As I signed my name on the waiver sheet, the volunteer handed me a white (male) tag and then took a closer look at me and started to apologize and take it back. I said, emphatically, "No, white is correct." But I felt extremely self-conscious, as even dressed in a jacket I felt my breasts were screaming "female" to all those assembled, especially those who knew me pre-transition.
As it turned out, only a couple of club members (including the day's race director) recognized me, and I didn't strike up many conversations. I was glad when we took off. The weather was cool and overcast, and though it wasn't raining, there were many large puddles which I tried to avoid, as I was wearing my open-mesh shoes. I told Ziggy he'd probably finish at least 15 minutes ahead of me, as I was under-trained and sleep-deprived. I figured I was running at about 11 minute pace, somewhat faster than my usual six-mile route which normally has a lot of traffic stops. But I completed mile one in 10:17.
Assuming I wouldn't get anywhere near a PR, I continued cruising along, surprising myself every time I looked down at my watch and saw that I was exceeding 10 minute pace, and passing people. I really didn't feel like I was putting in much effort at all. This was consistent with my latest 5K race experience; running a full minute faster per mile with no noticeable increase in effort. Thank you, testosterone!
On this flat, scenic course, I tried to keep my mind off my various troubling thoughts and my eyes on the scenery rather than on the puddles and my watch. I was rewarded with the rare sight of an enormous pelican, preening her feathers. I didn't see too many other birds, unfortunately.
The last mile featured a short uphill climb, so I tried to make up for it by running faster down the hill near the finish, but the pavement was wet so I checked my speed, afraid of skidding and falling. I still managed a sprint to the finish line, passing another runner with just a few meters to go. I finished with an unofficial time of 1:01:34, which I realized right away, and confirmed later, was a new PR. Wow! Ziggy also set a PR of 52:58, even more impressive as he had just done a half-mile swim in the cold water (and soon after the race, took off on a bike ride).
Really glad I dragged myself out of bed for this race; great way to end the season (the Winter Solstice is a couple of hours from now). I miss racing, and wish my volunteer work didn't conflict, but it's just too important to miss. I'll just have to push myself to greater achievements on my everyday runs.
ETA Dec 23: My official finishing time was 1:01:33, but the official race distance was only 6.1 miles (short of a 10K by .1 mile). I think I can still count it as a PR as my mile pace was faster (by a second per mile) than my previous 10K PR. Though being another DSE race, that was also not a certified distance so may have been either shorter or longer than 6.2 miles also. *shrug*