Saturday morning, I ran the Yuri’s Night 5K in Nassau Bay, a midcentury subdivision in Houston where early astronauts used to live. I had originally planned to run the 10K, but I honestly haven’t been enjoying runs longer than three or so miles lately. I’ve been dealing with a knee injury and general running frustration, so when I went to pick up my packet, I paid an extra couple of bucks to cover the cost of a new bib and moved down to the 5K.
I’m so glad I did.
The weather on the morning of the Yuri’s Night 5K was absolutely perfect. It was 50 or so degrees with a light breeze, ideal running weather, and for a few seconds, I wished that I was running the 10K. But only for a few seconds; I haven’t run more than four miles without wanting to cry lately, so I figured a 5K would be perfect. I planned to take it at my own pace and listen to my body carefully. (Lately, I am all about listening carefully to my body.)
Texas Beef Team representatives had set up a table, so when I got to the race location, I stopped by and chatted for a bit. I hadn’t met any of my fellow Beef Team members yet, so it was really nice to meet them and talk about the program, running, and such. Then Melissa showed up, so I went to give her a big giant congratulations for running the Boston Marathon and chat with her a little.
At the start line, I just went. I didn’t worry about pace or time; I had plenty of time to run the course and enjoy it, and that’s exactly what I did. I slowed enough to read the signs on the lawns of the former astronauts’ houses (Roger Chaffee, Buzz Aldrin, and Gene Cernan were just a few). I slowed to admire the midcentury architecture, because I’m a sucker for a house where I can picture myself wearing a full skirt and red lipstick, sipping coffee and playing canasta. (I have never played canasta, but I’ve always felt like that’s something a midcentury wife would do.)
I felt like I could soak up the midcentury optimism that came with the beginning of the space program, and a part of me wants to walk the Yuri’s Night 5K sometime with my dad, who worked on Skylab in the 1960s in the early part of his career. Ultimately, I just wanted to have fun and remember why I love running, and I did when I rounded the last corner and Melissa was cheering me on.
My official time was 27:34, an 8:53 pace. It’s certainly nowhere near my fastest, and my Garmin heart rate data will confirm that. According to the stats in Garmin Connect, my max heart rate only went up to 171 bpm, and my training effect was solidly aerobic. I had no pain and only a little discomfort in my knees (plural).
After the Yuri’s Night 5K, I had time to take pictures of my medal and with Melissa and enjoy a cup of coffee. That’s seriously the best part: when you have time to just chill after a race and not hurry home to change, when you can talk to the friend you haven’t seen in ages and enjoy the company of a like-minded human. I feel like, all too often, I’m missing these connections in my life, and being able to just be myself with someone is the greatest gift anyone can give me.
I fully plan to run Yuri’s Night again next year, and maybe next year, I’ll be up for the 10K. Who knows?