Yesterday was race day. Race day brings with it a mix of emotions…excitement, confidence, anxiety and dread. All of these feelings melt away when I hear that gunshot. Determination, drive and mental clarity take over and I have two objectives….run and run faster.
Yesterday’s race was the only 5k that Jason and I signed-up for this year. We had a free registration from a previous race so we figured what the heck. I never planned to continue the monthly 5ks into 2017. It started to feel too routine which took the fun out of it. I am really glad that we ran in the Winter Luau 5k on Saturday because this race gave me the chance to see the difference a year can make.
During yesterday’s race I hit a new personal record (PR) of 23 minutes 17 seconds which is nearly one minute less than the fastest time I have ever run a 5k. If you are doing the math, that’s a 7m30s/mile pace. I finally broke 24 minutes! It was even more satisfying that this happened at the Winter Luau 5k because this race is what started my journey as a runner last January. That race was my first test, and when I crossed that finish line last year at 29 minutes 12 seconds…it felt good…and when I crossed that same finish line yesterday over 6 minutes faster…it felt even better.
The decision to pursue the twelve 5ks in twelve months started with a conversation on Christmas eve 2015 between myself, Jason and my sister Melissa. I mentioned wanting to try it because I knew someone who had a similar goal that year and was inspired by the idea. Melissa and Jason were both on board but I wasn’t 100% there. The commitment was intimidating. My commitment to the goal inevitably arrived a few days later when discussing with a friend. That conversation sealed the deal for me. From there it was straight into planning mode….planning out the races each month. More important than planning the races was the actual running. I had not been running in several years…so I had to start and I had to keep it up. I could not and would not give-up.
The more I ran, the easier it became. It’s funny how that works. The simple formula of working at something consistently in order to get better. As each month’s race arrived, I had new challenges, I hit new accomplishments and shared the experience with different people.
By the summer, I was actually pretty good at running which is not what I expected to happen. I had never been good at anything atheltic in my entire life. It just never happened for me. I learned to compete with myself instead of others. I could control how fast I ran, but I could not control who showed up to race, how old they were (this impacted the competitors in my division) or how fast they ran. The competition against myself fueled everything. Every race I would set a stretch goal and every race I would surpass that goal. That feeling of accomplishment lit a fire within me that made this uncoordinated, non-athletic, at that time “skinny fat” girl feel like she could do anything….anything if she had the right mindset and the willingness to work. This, this right here started it all for me. It sparked the feeling that I could accomplish anything…so that’s just what did.
Next time: Taking the leap….my decision to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Sometimes you just need to have faith that the stranger strapped to your back will save your life.