Races

First race of 2015

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. 

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3 thoughts on “First race of 2015

  1. I think we should all probably race spontaneously on occasion. We would probably surprise ourselves be there are no stings attached

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  2. Congratulations on a great race and time :). I think racing was a good decision for you as a person, even if it wasn’t the best thing from the running POV. Yes, you only ran 6 miles the week before but you are a lifelong athlete with a running background and now a coaching background. You’re obviously pretty fit to run that time and if something went wrong, you’re smart enough to stop or slow down. After all it’s better to be under trained than over trained right ;).

    Aside from the physical sometimes it’s just good for us as people to make a spontaneous decision or do something that challenges us even if we’re not quite “ready”, because you look back on those things and see where you did them when real-life challenges beyond running come up.

    I used to coach youth xc/track and my running changed when I realized I was an example for someone else. It’s not that I took the sport more seriously or anything, but it definitely decreased my freak-outs and changed my expectations because I wanted to be a good example for my athletes as people and runners.

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  3. I read that headwinds of 20 mph can decrease your speed by 12% but the same tailwind will only offer you a 6% benefit so, actually, you probably would have run even faster on a calm day! Good for you for getting out there and spontaneously racing! Hopefully this is just the start of an excellent spring/summer racing season for you. 🙂

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