The past six weeks have been a huge shift both mentally and physically for me. Focusing on speed has meant getting to know my body. What it can do now and what it is capable of doing, with proper training, in the future both near and distant.
On July 27th I ran my first real 5k race. I’ve run a couple others, but they were mostly just for fun. This was the first 5k I actually ran for time. I wanted to see what I could do so that I had something to measure against as time went on.
I went into the race thinking I’d run it in around 33 minutes. At the start line, I felt a little lost. I didn’t know how to run a short distance race. I had no idea what I was doing. But, with a lot of encouragement and a push through the last half (it really helps when you have someone running with you from start to finish – coaching you, giving you tips and bringing your focus back when you need it), I was able to finish in 32:02. Much better than I thought I would do, and my fastest 5k race by about a minute and a half. But when I looked at my Garmin and saw the final time, I said to myself “Damn! If I knew I was that close, I would’ve tried a bit harder and taken a couple seconds off to come in under 32 minutes”.
It was then that I realized… I hadn’t tried my hardest at all… If I thought I could have cut a couple seconds off, then I probably could have tried harder throughout the short race and cut more time off than that…
I think about that almost every day. I’ve taken this lesson, not only into the weekly speed workouts, but into all my runs. I’m taking in and trying to apply the advice being given to me, concentrating more on my form, my breathing, pushing myself to go just a little bit harder. So far I’ve had some good, some great, and some crappy workouts but I try to keep my attitude positive. After all, running is at least 90% mental. Positive attitude is the key. Well, that, and a sheer determination to succeed. Having a competitive nature definitely helps to keep me moving forward.
My next benchmark race will be on September 8th when I run the B&O Yorkville 5k. I’m two weeks away from it and although I feel like I’ve gotten stronger, I’m not so confident that I’ll see any improvement.
I guess time will tell…