Lessons Learned During My 5k

Monday, April 07, 2008

Well, my race this weekend ended up being a great experience.

I started with the goal of finishing within (or at least close to) 45 min. Since I finished my walk last month in 1:03, I thought that was a pretty reasonable goal. Plus, it was doable given the pace I had been making during my workouts on the treadmill.

I started the race by walking the first 5 min, which meant that A LOT of people passed me, including quite a few speed walkers. I can never quite figure out how the mange to walk so fast.

My first 5 minute running segment went really well. It felt great to be passing people and just actually be running in a race.

Starting my second walk segment, there was a little old lady jogging near me. She looked like she was probably in her 70's (at least) and she couldn't have been much more than 4 ft tall. She would pass me, and then I'd get fired up and walk faster because I didn't want to actually be slower than somebody' s grandma. But, at the same time, she was definitely inspiring. I hope I'm able to even come close to competing with someone the age I am now, when I'm her age.

But then, my second running segment was tough. I didn't do anything to try to pace myself on my first run, so I think I burned through more energy than I should have. I was trying to run another 5 min segment but I ended up taking a break in the middle of it. I was so disappointed in myself. During my third walking segment I just kept thinking about how I quit and telling myself that I could have done better.

I started my last running segment with the plan to run the rest of the way to the finish line. But, right about the half way point I stopped and walked some again. I just walked a minute or two, but the whole time I was being really hard on myself, telling myself that I was a quitter, etc.

Luckily, in addition to the 5k race, there was also a half marathon that had started about 30 min before us and covered some of the same course, including the finish line. Just as I was feeling really bad about walking and "giving up" the winner of the half marathon was coming up to finish his race. Seeing him and knowing how far he had run to get to the same spot made me realize that I shouldn't give up on myself, I could and should keep going.

The finish line itself was just around a corner, so I couldn't see the clock until about the last 50 yards. Imagine my surprise, particularly after berating myself on my "quitter" status, when I rounded the corner and saw that the clock said 43 min! I was so shocked and happy that I actually sprinted those last few yards across the finish line.

Afterwards I realized that there are probably a lot other times in my life when I've been really hard on myself when I was actually doing a lot better than I realized. It also made me think how much better I might have done, if I hadn't wasted the energy thinking negative thoughts and just focused on doing the best I could.

I'm definitely looking forward to my next race in May. I can't wait to see how much I can improve by them.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Awesome! That is really a wonderful realiztion. I just finished my second 5k and it is such a wonderful feeling! I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world! If anyone would have told me that I would be doing this a year ago, I would laughed at them... now I am laughing with them! Rock on Sara! Good job!
    4636 days ago
    Woohoo! You did fantastic! Keep up the great work and you will only continue to succeed!

    By the way - thanks for the comment on my blog :)
    4673 days ago
  • MILLER32807
    Congratulations. You did great. Just remember, even when you were walking, you weren't giving up. I can only run for about 45 seconds (honest) and then I feel like I'm dying.
    4675 days ago
    This was so awesome to read! I felt like I was right there with you. GOOD JOB! You did so great! What a proud moment! You cracked me up with the grandma part. Too funny.

    Take care!
    4676 days ago
    Awesome job! I am very proud of you. Now you know not to be so hard on yourself. You are right on track, if not ahead of your goals!
    4676 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3048897
    Awesom attitude and good for you on the race!
    4677 days ago
    Great job on not giving up and making a great time!

    4677 days ago
  • no profile photo BUFFALOCHICKEN
    Congrats to you!! I had a similar experience with my first 5K I ran back in March. I rounded the corner, saw the finish line about 100 yards away and saw/heard that i was about 90 seconds from my goal! It was then that I took off like a madwoman and finished 30 second less than what my goal was :) awesome feeling, isn't it?!? Keep it up! :P
    4677 days ago
    I'm actually trying to do at least one 5k per month. So, I should be full of inspiration by Septemeber. :)
    4677 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/7/2008 4:40:16 PM
    Good for you!! I'm planning to do the breast cancer 5k in September. Glad you posted this to inspire the rest of us!!
    4677 days ago
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