I’m not a smart runner. That doesn’t mean I’m not educated about running or unqualified to help other runners improve, it just means that when it comes to my own running I make idiotic decisions. I do things I would never ever suggest anyone else do. I do them mostly because I am impatient and partly because I like to think I am superhuman–I am not. This past winter is a perfect reflection of not being superhuman. Saturday I ran a 5k in 20:26. I ran 6 miles the week before I entered this race. I entered the race spontaneously. I decided to enter it a few hours before the entires were due and to be honest I was thrilled that I made a spontaneous decision because that isn’t typical for me. I wanted to start racing again & I decided it was now or never even though that is an irrational thought. I’m pretty sure that if I had a coach or someone was reviewing my training log leading up to this decision I would not have raced–I’m a free agent so I did it.
I chose to run this 5k on the track because I knew I would be in an environment where I had to be a good example. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m an assistant coach at a local community college. Running this race where I would be surrounded by athletes I work with forced me to be a good example. I couldn’t freak out, act nervous, or be mad about the outcome. I also couldn’t be negative because I felt like that would be hypocritical since I encourage positivity. Racing has always given me anxiety but I love it at the same time. Since I’ve been running as an adult (after college) and took this coaching job my race anxiety has decreased significantly. I believe that there is a direct correlation here. I’ll do anything I can to prevent another athlete from struggling with race anxiety and if that means I get over my own race anxiety in the process that’s a double win!!
I’ve never entered a race feeling this relaxed…. Ever! All I did was run. I wasn’t thinking a whole lot. I ran a little to quickly and took the lead for a lap which felt fine but winning wasn’t going to happen for me that day and I rationalized that as I was running. A few months ago it wouldn’t have been something I doubted. I knew I wasn’t in the physical shape I needed to be to run under 20 minutes or to win this event so I simply went back to running my race and forgot about the other women on the track. I ran at a comfortable uncomfortable speed if that makes any sense….it makes sense to me. Now I have an idea of where my fitness is and I can move forward. The race was windy but as I told someone before I ran, “the wind is only an issue for half the race and it helps you the other half so it shouldn’t be a factor.” I honestly didn’t notice the wind. My legs felt good and my mind felt strong. I raced and I don’t regret it! I hope to run some more races in the future 😺
Overall, I think I was smart about the race and I don’t think my fitness has vanished completely over the winter. My main goals moving forward are to feel healthy, avoid injury by gradually increasing mileage and intensity, stay healthy & injury free, not worry about what everyone else is doing, and be a smarter athlete.