Yep - that's grass over there. It's unreal how warm it has been here.
One of the Winter Festival events was a 5k race, and I was pretty pumped to run.
That's kind of a lie. I was excited to run, but I was nervous about my foot feeling weird and possibly injuring it further. But I'm too stubborn to register for a race and not run it. So I put on my supportive, cushiony running shoes, and convinced myself that the achy, tight feeling I was getting as I walked up to the square would go away once I started running.
And for the most part it did. I tried to get in the zone and find a groovy pace once the pack started to disperse by checking in on it with my fancy Valentine's present.
But then about a mile in, my foot started feeling funny and I decided to pull back on my pace. I was frustrated and worried about my foot and bothered that I didn't feel good during a race that was supposed to be fun.
And then with a little less than a mile left, I hit my stride. I settled into a happy pace and stopped freaking out about all of the details of my run. Once we got to the final loop around the capitol square, I ran hard and finished strong.
My last .1 miles is wrong because I didn't stop the watch until after I had wandered .06 miles away from the finish line and stood around for a while. I ran the last half mile at about a 8 min/mi pace. I'm also not sure how to calibrate these number quite yet.
I definitely didn't pull negative splits or run my best 5k ever, but it's funny what you learn about racing even with short distances.
1) I know that I need to run my own race.
2) I know that I need to listen to my body.
3) I know that I should create a playlist that I actually like so that I don't get distracted by songs that I don't want to run to.
4) I know that the 5k is not my race because I don't actually enjoy running until I'm about two miles in.
I also finally understand why Hal Higdon puts races in his training schedules. Running a race isn't just about being able to run a certain distance. It's also about learning how to manage the race itself. Races start at a certain time. They also involve starting your run in a hoard of other runners who are all trying to hit their race pace as soon as possible. Races demand strategic bib pinning techniques, premeditated outfit options, and managing the adrenaline rush that comes with wanting to pass the person in front of you, but also knowing when it's not in your best interest to pass that person.
All of this new wisdom totally psychs me up for the half marathon. I've also passed the halfway point for my fundraising goal which I'm thrilled about. For everyone who donated - Thank you so much! It really means a lot to mean to have your support. If you're still interested in donating, visit my fundraising page. The Organization for Autism Research is a fantastic organization and they are really doing amazing work. One of the projects they funded last year is for a mobile app that uses a "Virtual Coach" to help improve the social and communication skills of teens on the autism spectrum. Check it out!