I’m not going to lie. I was pleasantly surprised by my result yesterday in the Eve Fest 5K. As slow as my times have been since I started running again, I was certain I would not have a mile under 9 minutes and would be lucky to break 28 minutes. Now granted, the course was short (3.04) but my time of 24:30 was a pretty big shocker. And even though it’s 2 minutes off my PR for the distance, I’m not looking at it that way. This is a positive. The hill is not as steep as I thought it was. That’s a good thing. As for the details, I will bore you with them since there are only 3. Mile one was 7:58 and felt really good. Mile two was 8:31 and I have no idea why I slowed down because it didn’t feel like I did. I think it was a concentration thing. Mile 3 was a 7:53 and I actually had just a tiny spark of a kick at the end. Not enough to brag about… but there was something. I have no idea of my placement and don’t really care.
See, this is why I race. It has nothing to do with beating anybody. It gives me a chance to test myself and push myself like nothing else can. Even when I played baseball, I was always a better game player than I was a practicer. Not because I slacked off in practice, but because I was working on a skill or a situation, not the whole game. It’s the same with triathlons/running/etc. now. When I “train” I’m always working on something. Fitness, form, technique, strategy… something. But when I get to the starting line, I can just take it up to as close to redline as possible for as long as possible and test myself.
I didn’t feel much different during the race yesterday than I do during a training run. I was breathing a little harder but that was all. I just focused on breathing as hard as I could for as long as I could and pushed myself to keep going. I had two sub 8 minute (barely) miles. I haven’t done that in over a year. Yes, I was breathing hard at the end but recovered fast enough to go out and run another 3 miles before I left.
So next up is a trail race. I have 24 days to train. With several opportunities for snow and very cold weather in the next few weeks, that should be a challenge. But that in itself is a big change in thinking for me. Two months ago bad weather would have been a deterrent, now it’s just another challenge.
And with that, I leave you with the end of 2013…