He ran so well, and I’m proud of him. 🙂
The Pride & Remembrance 5K has been my favourite race over the last few years for several reasons:
- It’s the first 5K I ever ran (yay milestones!);
- … it’s also the ONLY 5K I ever ran each year, and I managed to set a new PB in it for the past three years which led to various feelings of awesomeness; and
- It’s also my unofficial anniversary with Mike.
Lots of happy memories.
The memories are so happy, in fact, that every year, I block out the fact that the race is always super hot and humid, and I always cross the finish line feeling like I might unload my breakfast all over the confetti littered street.
This year, as race day drew near, I started tossing around time goals in my head and decided that I would try to match or slightly beat last year’s 23:59 time. Since I had already done that in April, I figured I could do it again…
Never mind the fact that I ran a relay leg at a harder effort than I expected to the week before. Never mind the fact that I went for a few grueling trail runs in brand new minimalist shoes that ripped my legs to shreds. Never mind that the week leading up to the race, my legs were starting to feel so stiff that all my runs that week were reduced to paces that I hadn’t seen since I started running back in 2009.
Nope, never mind all that. I went into the race hoping that my legs would magically wake up and I’d be able to squeak in a modest PB. I just decided to ignore the facts and didn’t want to give myself any excuses to not do well.
I was also lucky enough to have one of my Pace & Mind teammates, Nathan, pace me. A few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I kind of, sort of wanted to race this 5K, he offered to run it with me since he was planning to run it for fun. I was thrilled – I credit my last 10K personal best to Mike taking out all the guesswork in my pace and just guiding me from start to finish. Great things happen when I turn off my mind and stop obsessing over pace. But, that morning, I just felt off. I was a bundle of self-doubt and nerves, and annoyingly thirsty.
The race itself was so much fun! I mean, as much fun as you can have when you’re running noticeably slower and feeling tired from the start. We started off conservatively, and slowly picked up the pace. I just focused on following Nathan, and asked myself if I could have picked things up more or gone any faster. The answer was a resounding NO. At least his encouragement and enthusiasm was contagious and I couldn’t help but smile the entire time.
When I crossed the finish line in 24:22, I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed that I didn’t have more to bring to the table. I then spent the rest of the day / weekend fearing that I hadn’t made any progress at the 5K distance in over two years. I even sent my coach (who won the race, by the way… no big deal) a panicked email about the fear of standing still and not progressing any further. It was an emotional email to write & send, but Mike convinced me that if there’s anyone I should be sharing my thoughts with, it’s my coach.
And then, I took a little more time and really thought about things.
As Rejean pointed out, I’m currently in the strength building phase, it can be hard to run fast in the summer, and the training cycle only started three weeks ago.
As Mike reminded me over the weekend, it was hot on race day and history has shown that I don’t run well in the heat. My legs were sore even the morning of the race which means I didn’t go into it with fresh legs.
When I went to see a massage therapist this morning because my legs were still incredibly stiff and sore, he pointed out to me that those two hill trail runs that I did in new minimalist shoes probably worked my legs faster than I could recover. And the fact that I don’t usually take anything for recovery right after hard runs probably doesn’t help things, either.
There’s one more problem.
I still don’t believe I can do it.
Sure, I get lots of encouragement from Mike, my coach, and my teammates. My non-running friends just think I’m crazy and am taking a hobby way too seriously. Maybe I do… But at the end of the day, I’m the one inside my head on race day and my head is always screaming at me to slow down when it starts to hurt during the race until my heart stops threatening to beat out of my chest. I need to start encouraging myself, and stop over-thinking things mid-race. That way of thinking seems to work in my professional life, and to an extent, my personal life… but I think I should approach running with a ‘just do it’ mindset.
I’ve got a lot of work to do. And I’m ready to just do it.