In the past 3 months I’ve run two 5ks. It’s pretty much as far as I’ve been able to go, and they’ve both been the slowest 5ks I’ve ever run, but also the most empowering races I’ve ever had as well. Seem like an oxymoron? It’s all about the goals you set for yourself.
My Mom and I like to do a race on Thanksgiving Day before all of the craziness gets going. Usually I’ll do the half marathon, but the whole not being able to breathe thing made the 5k look much more sensible. My goal was simple. I wanted to run the whole thing thing without stopping to walk. I was getting stuck in a rut with my runs, and just had this feeling that I had more in myself. I got stuck in ridicioulsly crazy crush of people at the beginning from the overstuffed corrals, and started slow as I weaved in, out, and around all of the people before getting in a grove going up the hills around Grant Park. I bounced around, said hi to friends along the way, thanked every Police Officer out there, and then realized I was at the final hill. As I went under the Olympic rings outside the stadium (can we pause here for a second, and talk about how cool this is!?!) I hit the gas to see what my legs had left. Oh yeah, I just turned out a 7:30 pace for the last 1/4 of a mile… Goal. Crushed!
Sunday I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k after getting cleared to workout again after 10 days on Cipro. For anyone who doesn’t know Cipro is pretty much one of the most effective, and strongest antibiotics out there. I’m now convinced it can kill anything! It has one very nasty side effect though, it can cause lots of joint/tendon pain, and has even lead to burst Achilles. For 10 days I did nothing! I figured out pretty early on in my antibiotic dose I needed to switch from the 15k to the 5k. The goal was simple, start and finish without a burst Achilles! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people do a 5k. The crowds were overwhelming, and slowed me down, which since doctor’s orders were no racing or sprinting helped keep me in check. I can tell you it’s not easy deliberately running slow in a 5k! It goes against everything I know, but I felt great the whole way. I could finally breathe while running!! And despite the urge I didn’t spring to the finish. I felt like I could do much more, and felt a little flat to be honest, but once again the goal was crushed.
I’ve learned a lot about setting goals with these two races. They need to be achievable, otherwise you simply set yourself up to fail. Which is why I texted my coach with a simple goal for the race I want to do in the fall. I just want to PR. There are all kind of times I would like to achieve, but I’ve learned to let go and run with the ability and effort I have on any given day. Who would have thought you would learn so much for your slowest races. Watch 2015. As soon as I get my endurance back you’re mine!