This past weekend I ran a 5K. It was a fun St.Patrick’s Day 5K and I had been looking forward to it because my training runs have been so much quicker and I really had no doubt in my mind that I would PR. That morning I woke up not feeling my best but still thought I would have no issues beating my personal best. I go into every race not looking to place, but just to beat my last race time. It’s way easier said than done and every run is different but when you are competing against yourself you want to WIN even more!
I went out really fast(for me)- my first mile was 7:40- way too aggressive and not my usual pace. I knew I hurt myself by doing that, by mile two my legs felt like bricks and I had to slow my pace big time. At one point I couldn’t breathe and walked for a few seconds. Every thought was going through my head “this never happens in training runs, why now?”, “you are never going to be able to do a full marathon if this 5K is causing you pain”, and many more self-destructive thoughts. When I came into the finish line my husband was waiting to take a picture of me like he always does and I didn’t even want to look at him. I was mad at myself!
I met up with Justin and found out that he had set a PR and also finished first in his division. I was really happy for him but still mad at myself. We sat down in the bar where they had awards and chatted about the race. Justin kept telling me to “not beat myself up” and I knew he was right. It was a 5K- a year ago I couldn’t even run a 5K and here I was being sad over finishing in 27:05.I started thinking about why I started running and finding the love of running again. I don’t want to constantly be checking my Garmin or putting myself down for any run I do. EVER. That’s SO easy to say but hard to actually change your mind set. When I started every run was exciting and each new distance I met was a huge achievement for me. My time was just part of it, but not everything. My goal is to run a half under 2 hours and I want to spend those two hours loving it, not watching my time or trying to be faster than what I know I can. I don’t want to go out fast and try to make up ground because I know that doesn’t work for me, I want consistency at a pace that I know feels good for me and that is my goal.
This week I decided I wanted to fall in love with running again. By running my training runs on my schedule it gives me a nice combo of speed intervals, easy runs, and tempo runs. The paces my trainer has set for me are perfect. Yesterday I had 5 on my schedule with intervals of my 5K pace and it was hard but I was proud of sticking to the fast intervals. This morning I had 3 at my easy pace on my schedule. “Easy pace” is always a struggle for me because again I have a hard time pacing myself and SLOWING down in the first mile. This morning was different though. I ran outside on a path that I haven’t run most of the winter. It was still and quiet outside and the temp was around 45 degrees. It felt amazing- I wasn’t going fast, I was just running with my heart. I didn’t look at my watch once through the entire run. I took it all in!!
This is my goal- to love every step when I’m running.
Oh and I am still coming for that 5K PR and will still try to beat myself in every race, but if I don’t I know there is always another race and feeling sad or beating myself up is just not worth it! Running is a blessing- running has changed my life in many ways that I haven’t even described yet in this blog, and I refuse to lose the love I have for it because I had a bad race. I plan to RUN HAPPY!!!!!!