I May Have Found the Spark!

So you know in my last post how I was bitching commenting on the fact that my running motivation is at a low point? Well, I think its turned around – I’m excited again. I’m ready to tackle the next challenge in my training plan!

It all started with a local 5K that I wanted to race. Its been years since I have actually raced a 5K. I have ran several but usually with a jogging stroller and a 30 lb toddler in it. This 5K I wanted to really leave it all on the pavement and see how my training was going.

Friday night Diapers and I had a “date” since FirefighterDad was working and I didn’t stress about the race too much. I did some really good self pep talk that included reminding myself that 5K’s hurt. Its a weird distance where you don’t have 2-3 miles at your disposal to kinda warm up. Its race pace right outta the gate and since I’m not use to this, I was counting on the adrenaline to get me going. I also continued reminding myself that I was going to feel terrible. I told myself I was going to embrace the discomfort, the pain, the ragged breathing and get to a 9:20-9:30 pace and stick to it. As I type this out it sounds very pessimistic, but for me it didn’t come across this way. Races are suppose to hurt. They are suppose to be uncomfortable – knowing this, I didn’t want any regrets crossing the finish line thinking I could have done better. I wanted to give 100% so staying positive about the discomfort and accepting it was my race plan.

I woke up Saturday morning, got dressed, drank my coffee, pooped (an absolute must!), ate a little breakfast, pooped again (key racing strategy), and started drinking some ice water. I woke up Diapers and had some good snuggles then got him ready. At 7:15 we were out the door so I could register. Registration was a breeze and took significantly less time than I anticipated so the next hour was waiting around and keeping Diapers entertained. We “raced” in the gym, and I gotta say that little boy has some speed! We used the bathroom, and watched all the post-race vendors get set up. At 8:15 I used the bathroom one last time, got a bottle of water, and headed to the start. One last lucky kiss from Diapers and I lined up in the middle of the pack. The race was a minute or so late getting started, but as the adrenaline surged I was off.

Immediately I hit an 8:11 mile pace – I knew this was entirely too fast and I wouldn’t be able to maintain it so I backed off, weaved around people, and got settled in an 8:30 pace. Mile 1 had a quick downhill followed by an uphill and I knew once I got up it I would be around a 9:00 pace – much better for the race. Going into mile 2 I was around a 9:22 pace. Circling around at the half way point, I was hitting around a 9:37 and quickly dropped to 9:47 pace into mile 3. The whole time I was running with a water bottle so I didn’t stop at the aid stations, and only took a couple quick sips from my bottle. I knew once I saw the 3 mile sign I was going to toss the water bottle onto the side of the road and kick it in for the finish. The 3 mile sign came up, I dropped my water bottle, and kicked it in with the help of some adrenaline. I crossed the finish line, and all I could do was stand there hands on knees for a few seconds. I wanted to move and sit down, but I physically couldn’t move my legs. It was a little weird feeling, but I knew I needed to move as other runners were crossing so I stumbled over to the side walk and sat down catching my breath.

I finished in 28:52 setting a new PR!

AND…

I placed 2nd in my age group!!!

Ya’ll placing in my age group never happens. Well it happened once when I was 13 and I got 4th in my age group for a 4.4 mile run – I got a blue ribbon.

Needless to say, this race – pushing myself, my pre-race strategy and race plan – all of it just sparked a new level of motivation. I’m faster, I’m improving, I can do hard things and accept discomfort. I can overcome and conquer! Its been exciting to say the least!

I really think keeping this race “low key”, registering kinda last minute, and having a more realistic race strategy and acknowledging the discomfort of the race helped A LOT! Usually, I say things like “You’re going to feel so good, you’re going to feel like running is effortless, your legs are going to feel light and your breathing is going to be comfortable”. Yeah – that’s never worked in the past, so I’m glad I didn’t cloud my mind with unrealistic positivity.


What race strategies work best for you?

How was your weekend?

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