Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday–The breakthrough race

It is not a secret that I struggled to run decently during college and that I never reached my athletic potential. When I transferred from community college to a four year school I had a hard time adjusting to a new team, a new coach, and a whole new school. My first xc season after transferring was an improvement upon the previous 2 xc seasons, but not great. I was still nowhere near where I was during my sophomore and junior years of high school and I had lost hope that I would ever improve or see the day that I could equate my performance to that time in my life. I logged a lot of miles between the end of xc season in 2007 and the start of the new year. I had briefly experienced indoor track in high school and I disliked it but I decided to run indoor track during my junior year of college. On January 18, 2008 we had a meet. The semester hadn’t even started yet but we had a meet and I was going. We were leaving school at a weird time, late afternoon, and I distinctly remember this because I was at work before I went to this race. I remember wearing my uniform under my work clothes and stripping in the parking lot to put my warmups on. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and I didn’t even think about the race at all that day. I was just going through the motions because I was frustrated with running. When we got to the meet I was entered in the 5k and seeded with a time around 21:00. This didn’t make any sense to me since my xc 5ks were way faster than this seed time but a seed time is just a seed time, right? I say that now but I was pretty irritated at the starting line. I stood there staring down at my pink and yellow nike jana stars and I felt like I was going to cry–not because of the seed time but because I had no idea what was going to happen when that gun shot, then the gun shot.

Still actively seeking another pair of these exact same spikes because they were the best spikes I’ve ever owned.

This is one of those races where I don’t remember a lot, but I do remember a few things from the race:

1. My body felt fantastic and I felt like I was floating.

2. I was actively passing people and hanging on to the leaders for as long as I could when I made my way to the front of the race.

3. I knew I was going to run way under 21 minutes after the first half mile.

4. After 2 miles I knew I would break 20 for the first time in several years.

I ran 19:18:81 and I came in 5th place. *sidenote: my college keeps a good archive and I was able to find all of this information, including the date of the race on the website…I have a good memory but its not good enough for me to remember the exact date and where I placed. In fact, I didn’t exactly remember what my time was I just remembered this race and I knew the time was something in the 19s and I was happy about it.* When I finished the race I was almost crying again because I was so happy. In that moment I felt like I had finally overcome everything I had been dealing with the past 3 years and I was finally happy with running again. The entire duration of the indoor season I was on my A game. I was running well and loving training. Spring went similarly. I didn’t improve much but at least I remained consistent.

This one race allowed me to breakthrough all of the negativity and obstacles that had been hindering my running. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made this race or this day so special. Maybe it was because I wasn’t focused on racing since I had been at work before we left, maybe all of my training finally just clicked and everything fell into place, maybe I had a supernatural power guiding my footsteps that day–I really don’t know and I don’t think I ever will. What I do know is that this race was meant to happen so that I would finally feel confident again. I finally loved the sport again. Most importantly, I wanted to get faster…….so I began my quest for a sub 19 minute 5k. *spoiler alert: I never broke 19 in college*

2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday–The breakthrough race

  1. hey fellow SPA. I’m hopping over from Link Love on the SPA FB page.
    Running better and faster and stronger is going to keep being a goal of mine until I stop running, which I hope will be many, many, many years from now.


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