My marathon training schedule included a 10K time trial for this weekend. It just so happened that the Sweetheart Run was scheduled for the same day, so I signed up for the 10K distance–alone, in a sweetheart run. Single people do things like that. My sweetheart has four legs and fur, but he wasn’t allowed on the race course.
I was a little concerned about how the race would go. I’ve been having trouble with my psoas muscle. It’s a muscle that runs from the spine to the femur (the thigh bone) and enables runners to run. It causes pain in the groin area when I lift my leg, bend over, things like that. It’s been bothering me off and on for almost a year but not really bad enough to think about until I started marathon training. My long runs are increasing in distance and weekly mileage has almost doubled now, so I’m feeling that psoas pain on pretty much a daily basis. I was concerned that I might be running with pain during the race.
And for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling this race. Usually I’m super excited, but on race day, I was tired and just kind of wanted to get it over with.
But I did all my pre-race routines. I got up about 3 hours before the race, showered (I’m not a coffee drinker, so a shower is my “caffeine” to get the day going), had at least a bottle of water, and ate a banana and a rice cake with peanut butter and honey.
I drove to the race site early to run a couple of miles to warm up. I’ve discovered that as my runs have become longer, it takes 3-4 miles just to get warmed up, to find my rhythm, and to settle into the run. I didn’t want to waste half of my 6 mile race just to get warmed up. Despite feeling tired and a wind chill of around 19, when I started running, I felt great and my excitement for the race surfaced.
My goal for the race was to set a PR (personal record). I ran my last 10K in 58 minutes, so I just wanted to beat 58 minutes. I knew if I could keep my pace at around 9:15-9:20, I could PR. The gun went off, and away we went! I’m running along, feeling great, feeling no pain, and I looked down at my watch to check my pace to find I’m running at 8:45 (8 minutes, 45 seconds/mile).
So now the dilemma and a bit of fear kick in. There is a strategy to racing and pacing plays a HUGE role in a successful race. Go out too fast and you run the risk of tiring too early and not being able to run the entire race. This faster pace felt good–for now. Do I keep it up or do I slow it down to my planned pace? This race was meant to be a time trial so I wanted to push myself a bit, and it was only 6 miles. But on the other hand, it was 6 miles! What if I decide to keep this pace and then struggle to finish the race? I don’t like failing, and I was afraid if I pushed myself, I wouldn’t be able to finish the race.
I decided to go for it and crossed the finish line 55 minutes and 1 second later, feeling strong, and loving the fact that I set a PR by 3 minutes!
Not that every story has to have a moral, but if there’s a moral to this story, it’s to not be afraid to try! I’m so glad I pushed myself to keep that faster pace. And really, would it have actually been failure if I would’ve had to walk part of the race as long as I crossed the finish line?
The only downside to setting a PR is–
Next time I have to beat 55:01 minutes!
So whatever’s on your agenda today, go for it! Is it walking for an extra quarter mile, trying out Zumba or Kickboxing, putting an extra 10 pounds on your bar, going for a bike ride? You might just discover you can do more than you think you can! And then, leave a comment to let me know what you did today!