My walk to run coach shared some words of wisdom before race day 2009. She said to remember there are race day factors out of your control like the weather and crowds and other unexpected variables; therefore, don't count on finish time goals but work on doing your best. I listened but I should have figured out a way to accept this truth. I'm still working on it! I'm still trying to accept that there are variables out of my control. And I'm trying to accept my best --- even if it's not what I planned. There is a life lesson there!
The weather forecast called for a chilly, partly cloudy morning but the bright blue sky was cloudless and the early morning sun was bright. The race starter went on and on about the beautiful day before introducing the America The Beautiful singer. Because the sun "is not my friend", I was missing the partly cloudy skies as the bright sun glared off my sunglasses. The weather (a "beautiful" day) was a variable that I could not control. Today's pace was more like the pace I maintain for the local June race (and the temperature was much more like an early June day).
Some of my recent practice routes (cooler days or dark evenings) were completed with a faster pace than today. I keep hearing in my head: I did not beat my time.
Am I making excuses for not "being successful"? Or am I actually being realistic? To fight off the negative thoughts associated with not meeting my goal --- I am repeating certain other facts to myself.
For the 6th year in a row, I completed a 5 mile (8K) race.
I walk (and run short intervals) 5 miles (or more) on a regular basis of several times a week --- not ONLY on Thanksgiving for the local turkey trot.
My now 16 year old son decided to run the 5K race this year and last year. He runs because of me. That makes me VERY proud. He beat his time over last year. He lost over 2 minutes off his gun time to reach the finish line. That makes me VERY proud too.
Unfortunately, I found his lost 2 minutes. It took me about 2 minutes longer than last year to finish my 5 miles. I'm also telling myself that I've been consistent over time --- my pace is 30 seconds/mile slower than last year, and remarkably my pace for my first race in 2007 was quicker by only .07 seconds/mile. (There were some faster years in between my first race and this race. A running coach helps. Anticipation of a high school reunion helps more than I like to admit!) Today I finished with a pace of 16 minute miles. I remember years ago thinking that I couldn't get faster than 20 minute miles.
And today's 5 miles added enough mileage to get me across the next state line on my virtual trip
across the USA. I arrived in Kansas, and started in Virginia --- 1535.2 miles walked on real roads in all kinds of weather.
In honor of completing my 6th Thanksgiving Day Feaster Five:
I am thankful for being able to race 5 miles --- for 6 years in a row. I am thankful for giving my son inspiration. I am thankful for a healthy son who can run and enjoy the basic but important things in life. I am thankful for friends, acquaintances, and supportive strangers.