I used to have really self-limiting thoughts about my running.
I haven’t been running that long.
I used to be fat.
For probably the first two years I ran, I saw myself as someone who had somehow beat the system, snuck in and pretended to be a runner.
Then I started training for the NYC Half, with the goal of going sub-2, and I started believing in myself. I didn’t do it on the first try (or the second, or the third, but that’s neither here nor there), but I started to think of myself as someone who could run for performance, not just to finish. I was only competing with myself, but that fire in my belly had been ignited.
Last night, I ran one of the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series races. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re awesome. A $5 5K? Um, yes. They happen every other week in the summer, and last year all of my friends from the Internet went and had fun, and I was never able to make any of them. This year, I’m trying to make it to as many as possible.
I got off the subway and got completely lost trying to find the start of this small race. My directional skills are terrible; I’d need Google Maps to get me out of a paper bag were I lost in there. I started running the loop, hoping I’d run into someone I know, and I eventually saw
a unicorn Meggie, who led me to the start and our friends. I’d run 3 miles as a warmup (was only supposed to run 2, so Jess, I would like to request a deduction in mileage somewhere else) and my legs were still a little spent from the tri, so I wasn’t planning on “racing” it.
Rebecca and I started off together, both a little unsure about how it’d go, but trying to run hard. Jess wanted me doing it as a tempo at 8:15ish pace. Oops. I held that for about the first mile, then we dropped to 7:43 and 7:50 miles. My 5K PR is around a 7:33 pace, so I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but I decided I wanted to run as strong a race as I had in me yesterday.
That first mile included a bigass hill, and then it was all downhill from there. Rebecca and I chatted a little, but even a not-really-racing 5K pace is difficult to talk at, so after the first mile we occasionally grunted at each other.
In the last mile, once I hit 2.5, I decided I just wanted to be done, so I ran that last mile in hard and finished in 24:33. A full minute off of my PR, but I was still happy with a strong race.
24:33 is a 7:55 average pace. I never thought I’d be able to run under 8-minute miles, or even one 8-minute mile four years ago.
That was not a fluke, and it excites me for the rest of marathon training. (Which is good, because this is only the first week.)
Oh, and then I woke up and ran 6 more this morning with the lovely Jen. I’m enjoying getting back into the swing of things.
What self-limiting thoughts did you get rid of to become a stronger runner?