Monday, May 4, 2015

Strong Running Mama

I started running 5 years ago. I really didn't know anything about running. I had no idea that when you first start out you make tremendous gains in a short amount of time without even really trying. I PR'd every race that I did--by minutes--and I thought that was the way it was. I had no idea that 5 years later I would have to work so hard and fight for SECONDS. But that's the way it is, you reach a point when you are no longer a new runner and you have to work harder and change things up if you want to progress. I've learned a lot in the last couple of years. I've read as many articles about running and speedwork as the miles I've run. 

I've worked hard this training cycle--I've added cycling with the exercise bike, I've been pretty diligent about my speedwork, and I've tried to run smart. But the biggest thing holding me back wasn't my legs or my breathing or even those kidney stones and the fear of peeing blood, the biggest thing holding me back was my mind. You know that saying that runners like to share about not competing with each other, but rather with the voice inside their own heads saying they can't do it? The voice inside my head is pretty loud. "Why are you even doing this? You've been a couch potato bookworm your entire life. You don't belong here. You can't do this, why even try? Who do you think you are?" I've had a few good runs in the last couple of weeks to help mute that voice, but it was still there. 

And it was there when I lined up to run my A-goal race on Saturday. It was there when the horn went off. And then... then, I shut that voice up. 

Sara (1st woman overall), Kathleen (4th overall & 1st in Age Group), & me
Before the race

I wanted negative splits for this race but it didn't quite work out that way. I had planned on 8:55, 8:50 and 8:48. I started out way too fast, as usual, but even more so because it really is a small race. I looked at my watch and saw I was doing 7:30 and decided I needed to rein myself a bit. I wanted to finish fast, not last. So I forced myself to slow down and hit the first mile at 8:33

Starting a wee bit too fast. 

A bit faster than my intended 8:55. The second mile I ran into a herd of fundraising walkers (from a benefit walk being held at the same time on the same course) and that slowed me down. There was a lot of weaving around dogs on leashes and bikes and kids and it was not exactly fun. I finished the second mile in 8:57. I knew that all I had to do was keep running, not slow down, and I could get to my goal. I just couldn't give up. That voice in my head tried so hard to knock me down, but I tried harder. I sped up. My legs were fine, my breathing was fine, I was strong. I knew I could do it. I just had to hold on. I finished the last mile in 8:45. While not true negative splits, at least it was faster than the second. I saw the finish line and the time on the clock and I gave it everything I had. I did the last .15 (according my to watch) in 7:28

I finished the race in 27:22, beating my A-goal, 13 seconds faster than my almost 4 year old PR, and 44 seconds faster than when I did this race last year. I came in first in my age group (7 of us), 2 minutes ahead of the second woman in our AG, 7th out of 52 women, 27 out of 97 total. 

I needed this race. I'm thrilled with the results, I'm thrilled with my effort. I didn't give up. Didn't give in.  I fought for those seconds. I worked for them. And when that little voice asks "Who do you think you are?" again, I have the answer:

Strong Running Mama

1 comment:

Christine said...

Congrats!!!! You rocked it, always great to see hard work paying off !