On October 19, 2013, I ran my 4th 5K of the year, about three months after I started running on May 22, 2013. In my race prior, I set a new PR of 42:56 minutes, so I was excited about possibly beating that time. Well, hope springs eternal.
This was one of my worst racing experiences on a couple of levels. This was also my first race in the rain. So, that was the first unexpected situation of the day. So, I get to the bus pick-up location a good 40 minutes before the race, but apparently that still wasn’t early enough. There was only one slightly larger than a minivan bus, so I spent about 30 minutes in line in the rain waiting to get on the bus. When I get to the race site, it was only 8 minutes before the race. But, of course, I had to make a stop at the portapotty. After that, it’s 30 seconds before the race begins. So, this was definitely a new experience. But, these are things experienced runners know how to deal with.
Lesson 1: I’m not an experienced runner yet since I haven’t had to deal with various situations which only comes after many, many races over several years.
But, that wasn’t the worst of it. I think I dealt with that well. I even enjoyed running in the rain. It reminded me of playing in all weather conditions as a kid. The race was tough because I could never maintain my pace. I did way more walking than usual. Each time I tried to run, it was like I was in quicksand. I took a check of my systems and nothing was hurting, not even my back for which I’ve had physical therapy for this year. All systems were a go, except I couldn’t go. I kept pressing on anyway. This was a race that I was just glad I finished. It’s like having that class when you are super elated by getting a C- which feels like an A in that instance.
I was still hoping to finish close to my last time, so when I crossed the finish line at 48:26, I was a bit disappointed. The more I thought about it the rest of the day, the more disappointed I became.
Lesson 2: You can’t win them all. The Raiders’ “Just Win Baby” can’t be your mantra if that means setting a new PR (personal record) each time. Sometimes showing up and finishing is winning. “Just Finish Baby”
A friend did point out that a possible cause of my lackluster performance could have been because of my insomnia the week prior and that my body was simply out of gas. I’m not one who likes to make excuses, but that did make me feel a bit better, but not much.
Lesson 3: Listen and pay attention to those subtle cues projected by your body. Treat your body well and it will do well for you.
My disappointment led me to reconsider my status as a runner. But then, I read an article in Runner’s World, “You Know You’re A Runner When…” that said “…you were allowed to call yourself a runner from the moment you began. You could make the ugliest attempt at a mile and call yourself a runner at the half-mile collapse. You could call yourself a runner even as walkers passed you by.”
Lesson 4: I am STILL a runner regardless of my finish times. As long as I lace up and get out there, I’m allowed to call myself a runner.