Last weekend I ran the Grand River Gallop, the 2nd race in the local race series I’m participating in. For those of you who remember, I ran the Grand River Gallop last year too.
I felt like I was risking everything when I stood on the starting line, more specifically I felt like I was risking my confidence. Being out of racing shape is the worst. It’s soul crushing and it can lead to a lot of negative thinking, but I can’t let that happen.
I don’t need to list out all of the reasons that running hasn’t been going well. That isn’t going to change anything or help. Instead, I am focusing on where I am and I am seeking improvement day after day.
The morning of the race I woke up sick to my stomach. I thought I was nervous but I later discovered I’d picked up a strand of a stomach virus. Thankfully, that was short lived and didn’t impact my race. Once I finally got out the door (lots of stomach issues that morning and throughout the day) I knew I was barely going to make it to the starting line. I sometimes like to live life on the edge so I got in the car and drove the speed limit all the way to the race. The race was approximately 20 minutes away and it actually only took about 20 minutes to get there. I’m extremely thankful that in Colorado a 20 minute drive is actually a 20 minute drive unlike in New Jersey where a 20 minute drive can sometimes take 40 minutes to an hour. I got to the race 15 minutes before it started. I ran from the car to the registration table. I quickly signed up and rushed right to the bathroom because my stomach was out of control. Then I quickly ran back to the car, took off a few layers, and jogged around the parking lot for a minute before I walked over to the starting line. My warm up that day was basically an enigma. I had 5 minutes before the race started so I stood there receiving compliments because people loved my Sneakers & Spokes shirt. Sadly, they were all disappointed to learn that Sneakers & Spokes was not a local biking and running store…..in the state of Colorado.
I was nervous that my stomach would be upset during the race and I’d have to stop, but I was also generally nervous to run the race. I had no idea what the outcome would be and I was afraid that no matter what I ran I’d be miserable about it. Lately, it seems like every run I do at a faster pace feels impossible. I also had no idea what kind of time I could run because the last 5k I ran was in a category of its own.
When the race started I just ran. I remember 3 things from this entire race: seeing a street sign that said Last Chance, telling a guy in front of me to keep running, and a woman I know saying “Go Angela” after the turn around point. Oh, and I vaguely recall not feeling great running, but more my legs and my lungs hurting than my stomach.
When I finished the race in 21:25 I was surprised and my confidence was in tact. It’s not a great [for me] time but it’s great for right now. I was happy with it. I finished as the 3rd woman overall and 2nd in my age group. My 3rd place finish scored me a safety vest for night running.