Lessons Learned During My 5k
Monday, April 07, 2008
Well, my race this weekend ended up being a great experience.
I started with the goal of finishing within (or at least close to) 45 min. Since I finished my walk last month in 1:03, I thought that was a pretty reasonable goal. Plus, it was doable given the pace I had been making during my workouts on the treadmill.
I started the race by walking the first 5 min, which meant that A LOT of people passed me, including quite a few speed walkers. I can never quite figure out how the mange to walk so fast.
My first 5 minute running segment went really well. It felt great to be passing people and just actually be running in a race.
Starting my second walk segment, there was a little old lady jogging near me. She looked like she was probably in her 70's (at least) and she couldn't have been much more than 4 ft tall. She would pass me, and then I'd get fired up and walk faster because I didn't want to actually be slower than somebody' s grandma. But, at the same time, she was definitely inspiring. I hope I'm able to even come close to competing with someone the age I am now, when I'm her age.
But then, my second running segment was tough. I didn't do anything to try to pace myself on my first run, so I think I burned through more energy than I should have. I was trying to run another 5 min segment but I ended up taking a break in the middle of it. I was so disappointed in myself. During my third walking segment I just kept thinking about how I quit and telling myself that I could have done better.
I started my last running segment with the plan to run the rest of the way to the finish line. But, right about the half way point I stopped and walked some again. I just walked a minute or two, but the whole time I was being really hard on myself, telling myself that I was a quitter, etc.
Luckily, in addition to the 5k race, there was also a half marathon that had started about 30 min before us and covered some of the same course, including the finish line. Just as I was feeling really bad about walking and "giving up" the winner of the half marathon was coming up to finish his race. Seeing him and knowing how far he had run to get to the same spot made me realize that I shouldn't give up on myself, I could and should keep going.
The finish line itself was just around a corner, so I couldn't see the clock until about the last 50 yards. Imagine my surprise, particularly after berating myself on my "quitter" status, when I rounded the corner and saw that the clock said 43 min! I was so shocked and happy that I actually sprinted those last few yards across the finish line.
Afterwards I realized that there are probably a lot other times in my life when I've been really hard on myself when I was actually doing a lot better than I realized. It also made me think how much better I might have done, if I hadn't wasted the energy thinking negative thoughts and just focused on doing the best I could.
I'm definitely looking forward to my next race in May. I can't wait to see how much I can improve by them.