Sunday, September 11, 2011

ARC 5K - Another Check Mark

I woke up yesterday morning to find an absolutely perfect day for a race. Gorgeous, sunny and not too hot, I was ready to run! I wasn’t planning on going out super hard, trying to win or anything crazy like that. I just wanted to know if I was fully back in shape after my break in May and how the triathlon training had affected my running. I got my answers. I’m definitely back in shape and the triathlon training made me stronger. I finished the ARC 5K in 21:59 (a new PR) and actually won my age group! I’ve never done that before so it felt really cool to be able to check off another secret goal (to win something).

The PR was what was really most important to me though. Not only had I taken a break right after my last 5K PR (Race for the Cure), but I also had someone pacing me through it. Ever since, I’ve wondered if I could have accomplished that 22:04 by myself. Did I have the mental toughness? Could I focus long enough? Yup, I did and I can!

Knowing that this race was just a test of my fitness, I felt no stress, panic or anxiety going into it like I normally do. At Iron Girl, Race for the Cure, Mountain Goat and even to some extent at the Teal There’s a Cure 5K, I was putting serious pressure on myself to perform, to place, to PR or even just to prove that Kevin’s training was working.

But what I found yesterday is that going into a race with no pressure, running just for me and just for fun, I’ll still see results as long as I’ve been putting the work. And that’s what matters. Yes, my inner competitiveness still comes out a little once I start running and I’ll pick someone up ahead to try and catch or pass, but starting relaxed is the key for me. As long as I haven’t given that race anxiety time to build before I even start running, I can use it to my advantage.

Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever run the ARC race. It’s never been on my radar before but a friend got me an entry so I figured, why not? It was a nice race (flat out and back), plus there is a half marathon also. The half starts 10 minutes before the 5K, so we got to cheer them on as they headed out. Then, timing works out perfectly as almost all the 5Ker’s are done right before the fastest guys finish the half. We got to see Kevin win the half marathon by more than 2 minutes! It was so cool to see. I couldn’t stay for awards but I heard he gave away his medal to a disabled child. That I wish I could have seen, so heartwarming!  

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