This past Saturday, I passed up the opportunity to do a local race with a lot of my friends to head down to Hermiston, OR by myself to run a 10k. Many of you might question my judgment, but I assure you it was worth it! For the past 2 years, my training has indicated that I am capable of running a 10k well-under 40 minutes, but mentally I was not quite there. Knowing I could do it, was not enough (it never really is), I had to prove it to myself. The week leading up to the run my legs felt tight, sore and tired...FLAT! As Saturday drew near, I had to force myself to keep my head up because my knee-jerk reaction for so long has been to hang my head in defeat before the race even starts. Not this time. Even if it was forced, I was not about to let myself out of this one. I'm not usually a believer in this theory, but I had to fake it to make it.
The race was off to a quick start with the lead runners out well below 5:30 pace, I knew to just hang back unlike my usual self and it paid off. I was able to hang just behind the lead runners for the first 5k. It was awesome! I came thru just under my 5k PR (18:46) and felt great! Not too long after that is when the discomfort set in. My legs started to get heavy, breathing was definitely more labored and my pace started to slow. No big deal, I told myself, this run isn't over yet. As I came down from the little climb, I felt great and accelerated for about 100 meters. Then another little rise, and at the top I could no longer see the leaders. PANIC set in a little bit. I told myself to chill out, keep going. DO NOT give up on yourself. Forget about the leaders and focus on your form, lean forward and quicken your turnover. Ok, ok, I can do this. But that was when the "what ifs" set in, "what if" I'm just never supposed to break 40 minutes..."what if" this IS where I belong..."what if"..."what if"..."what if"...UGH i hate that place! I was stuck in the "what ifs" for what felt like an eternity...and I was afraid to look at my watch to see what was really happening to me. Finally I looked. WHAT!? My average pace had slipped off my initial goal, but was well within coming in under 40 minutes. All that hard work IS paying off! Not to say it didn't hurt, but I picked up my pace and ran it in HARD! As I passed the clock it ready 39:09...I could hardly believe it!!! I crushed it!!! My official time was a little off @ 39:19...but it's all the same at this point.
Do I think I have it in me to go faster? Absolutely. Am I disappointed with my race? A little that I wasted so much time questioning myself, but not with my time. That said, I was able to overcome that doubt - and that is what I'm most proud of!
Usually when I get to that place, there is no coming back...at that point I had in the past let myself back off so that I wouldn't have to face the unknown...I wouldn't have to, because I knew I was in control of NOT achieving my goal. In the past, I wouldn't lay myself on the line because I was terrified that I wouldn't be enough. I have to tell you, it's way better to go for it, even if you lose! Breaking that barrier was a huge accomplishment for me, I feel so incredibly FREE! Thank you to everyone who helped me get there!
Thank you for reading!
Up next: Onion Man :)