Racing Myself

It’s been awhile since I posted a running update.  After the half marathon, I felt like you guys could use a break.  Well, break’s over!  I’ve always hated losing.  Card games with my sister would inevitably end in my bottom lip thrust out, arms crossed, and hot tears streaking down my face while I hiccuped “nuffair!”  That translates into “not fair,” for those of you who don’t speak child.

One thing running has helped me with is the realization that I’m not the best, and that’s okay.  So instead, I find myself racing against myself.  It’s not about crossing that finish line first.  It’s about challenging myself to go faster, be less tired afterward, pass just one, maybe two more people at the finish.  I’m happy to say that for the majority of the races I’ve done, I’ve accomplished a personal best.  It’s crazy to see times from two years ago for the same courses.  For example, there’s a local 5K in early October every year.  Here are my times for the last three years:

10/4/08  34:52  (11:15mi)

10/3/09  31:13 (10:04mi)

10/2/09  29:09 (9:19 mi)

So, the first time I ever ran it (and actually, that was my first race ever), I finished with a 11:15/mi pace.  I remember my goal for that race was to finish it in under 35 minutes and I was so excited when I came in so far under.  Then last year, I wanted to break a 10 minute mile and when that didn’t happen, I was bummed.  Until I realized how very very close I’d come.  This year, I really wanted to get in under 30 minutes.  I was secretly hoping to come in under a 9:30 pace but decided it was probably a long shot.  My fastest 5K to date was in June, when I had a 9:36 pace and that felt crazy to me then, even with fewer hills.

I would be willing to bet that the fastest runners finished the course in around 15 minutes.  And that’s cool.  They’ve probably dedicated a lot more time to this and no doubt look like this.  I may not be the fastest, but I can sure as heck be faster and stronger.  And that’s pretty cool.

Upcoming races:  Tufts 10K (next Monday), Gobble Gobble Gobble (Thanksgiving morning).  I’m wicked excited.

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