Monday, November 11, 2013

The Race of Life...and my Weekend Race Recap

It's been awhile since I ran a 5K race.  The only other one I did this year was the Baltimore Women's Classic in June (recap here), since it was the culmination of the training program in which I was a coach.  5K's are fun because they're so short, but this also makes them painful!  I somehow forget this every time I sign up. 


I innately love to run.  I just do, and this is why I do it.  But I wouldn't say I'm a racer.  I don't run to race. I run just to RUN!  If that makes any sense.  I think I shared previously that I was briefly on the track team in high school.  I credit that experience to introducing me to the sport and sparking a love for running that I never knew existed inside me.  But I quickly burnt out from track because of the racing aspect.  It took much of the joy I experienced from simply running and turned it into a lot of pressure (internal and external).  So although I admit to racing against myself many times, hoping for a new PR, I don't set out to be competitive amongst others.  I'm simply not that fast! HA 

So back to the race....I signed up for this local 5K a few weeks ago on a whim.  Since this is my off season, I didn't want November/December to be filled with any kind of training schedule or race goals when it came to my running.  I am doing a lot more cross training now and just running whatever mileage feels good to me that day/week.  However, I remembered that even though the BWC 5K kind of hurt in June, that I really had fun doing it.  Someone told me about the race this weekend and it was right in my backyard so I thought why not?! 

It was chilly yesterday morning - mid 40's - and I wasn't sure how to dress.  It was the same temperature a few weeks ago when I ran the Runner's World Half, and I ran that in a t shirt and shorts, but dressing for a half marathon vs. a 5K is a whole different beast.  Just when I'm starting to get warmed up 3 miles in, the 5K is over!  You see what I mean about torture here?!  There is no room for easing into your race in a 5K, you have to go off like a bat out of heck from the start.  In any case, I decided to go with capri tights and a long sleeve tech t shirt (and my compression socks).  I was definitely cold in the beginning, but warmed up slightly by mile 3, or in other words, by the finish line!  Because I don't race 5K's regularly, I have no strategy for them, other than to run faster than I normally would.  So I set my Garmin at the start and this is how my splits fared:

Mile 1:  8:24
Mile 2:  8:22
Mile 3:  7:52

Negative splitting at it's finest!

In fact, according to my Garmin I had my fastest mile split ever in yesterday's race! I know sub 8:00 is not fast for most people, but for me it is!

My official chip time was 25:21 which was fast enough for me to place 1st in my age group (I was also 5th female overall)!  Yeehaw!  Oh the joys of being in the over 30 running crowd :)  So I got this nice little ribbon at the awards ceremony after the race:   

I felt good throughout the whole race.  No pain in my legs or knees anywhere, no cramping, and my breathing was easy.  And even though I ran faster than I normally do, I still feel like I held back a bit.  Like I always do in every race.  I'm always afraid to push myself a little bit more, because I never want to get to a point where I feel like I'm going to die, or not have enough at the end of the race.

And honestly, I think this is how I go through life a lot.  I feel like I'm often holding back a little bit, not giving something my all, because I'm afraid I'll fail.  I'm afraid I won't be good enough to make it to the end, to reach my goal, whatever it is at the time.  Even though time and time again, I literally see how strong I am - I accomplish new goals, things I never thought possible - when I begin again on something new, I have these thoughts of failure.  It's just not logical!  I am in fact, my own worst critic.  I am sure many of us are the same way.  I remember reading somewhere that you should try to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you.  Whether that be a partner, parent, sister, friend.  They see only the best in you, they believe in you, they think you are the best thing since sliced bread - so why don't you?! 

However, I have seen some shifts in my attitude and perceptions of life recently, and I have started to give more, to fight through my fear in different situations and to go all out.  Perhaps it's because I'm getting older, but I'm starting to realize this is the only life I get.  Just this.  To do everything and anything I've ever dreamed of.  I'm starting to care more about regretting not trying something, than trying and failing at something.  This race was just another metaphor for my life in that I don't want to leave anything in the tank.  In the end - I want to be able to say this:

How about you?
Do you give your all to everything you do?  Or do you hold back sometimes?
Any races this weekend?


  1. great post!! congratulations on the race and age group prize! I did two races this weekend, a 5k and half. Wanted to go all out for the 5k but knew I needed to save my legs. I love that quote!! As I get older too I realize how short life is and to make the most of every day :)

    1. A 5k and Half in the same weekend - you go girl!!! Yes, I think the brevity of life really starts to hit you as you get older. Carpe diem!

  2. I love running and part of me wants to be like HRG and be really fast but I just go at a pace I feel good at. I was really competitive in high school and made it to state for running. but I pushed myself hard. reflecting on it probably to hard! so when I start to get that burn I don't continue to push. I just stay at that pace or drop down a little. I want to relax and not make it a race. I want to enjoy my run which means for me, I will be slower.


    1. Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for stopping by. I think all runners face that paradigm at times, because we love what we do, but I never want to get to the point where I feel like I HAVE to run instead of that I just WANT to run. It's a thin line for me sometimes, but I really just want to be able to continue what I love to do without any pressure!

  3. I love this post! Not just because you rocked that race (congrats!) but more so your discussion towards the end. Some of my favorite quotes hit on exactly what you are saying when you said you hold back a little bit out of fear of failure:

    --“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
    --“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
    --“if you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want”
    --“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

    …in other words, keep pushing past your fear of any failure –I bet you’ll be taken aback by what you can do :)

    1. What sweet words for me - thank you! A younger me used to be so afraid of failing that I often wouldn't try things. As I get older, I realize this is a waste of my precious time and life, and so what if I fail?! There's always a next time and something new to try. Thanks for the inspiration :)