On Saturday, I ran my first race of 2015… a 10K. Overall, it was a great race–ups and downs (geographically and emotionally), but a really positive way to solidify training for my early spring half marathon. I could edit this and present you with only the shiny bubbly image of the finish line, but I feel like I owe you (few readers out there) and most importantly, myself, some honest reflection.
The race was tough!
It started the Sunday before last. I was planning to do a 5 mile solo run + an additional 2.5 miles at a more leisurely pace with friends for a total of 7.5 miles. Then, of course, my daughter woke up at 2:00 AM on Sunday morning violently vomiting the previous day’s food. By the time we all fell asleep restlessly on our towel-draped couch, we were spent. So, no early morning long run. Just a short run at the end of the day (that was all I could muster).
Despite the fact that I ran 5 miles last Wednesday night, the failed attempt at a long run the weekend before got under my skin. I suppose I should confess that I am very competitive with myself and I am most comfortable when I feel prepared. Missing out on that long run left me in a weird space. On race day, I was uncertain of my ability (mistake #1, since we all know that running is 90% mental). I was a bit sad that my two good lady friends were running the 5K–I wanted to abandon 10K ship and join them. But they encouraged me to go for the 10K and so off I went with my pack of runners.
Miles 1 and 2 were pretty good. I kept about a 10 minute pace, and tackled the hills. But at Mile 3, the Big Hill, I started to give in to some mental noise. I spent a lot of that mile alternating between running and walking. I regret expending so much negative energy! The downpour of rain honestly did not help. I felt lonely and tired.
I pushed and got through that little wall. At Mile 4, I hit the zone, and I managed to have a really good run the rest of the distance. The last mile was on trail, not roads, which was a considerable perk to my morale since my joints could sigh with relief on the soft footing!
Finishing was sweet. My arms were pumping to get me there! My friends were waiting and cheering me on… that made me feel so good and was worth the journey.
Not every run is “good,” but every run is an opportunity to learn. From this first race of the year, my takeaway is to leave the self-doubt behind. A jug fills drop by drop, and I have given my jug many drops! I must remember that I am a practiced distance runner who can finish strong.