Hi, everyone. I hope you have had a good week. Thank you for coming by Steve the Owl’s Blog. Recently, I have been thinking about the lessons that I learned in my most recent race: the Eagle National Bank 5K Run to Fight Cancer. When running this race, I was going through a lot of things that were very familiar to me as I ran the races.
This was my third time running this race, the first road race I have run this many times. However, the course changed just a little bit. Apparently, some of the runners ended up getting caught in a mass of walkers as they were going through a section of the course in years past, so in order to avoid this problem, the course was slightly redrawn, making the initial part of the course much straighter on order to give the runners enough time to get in front of the walkers. However, one of the big changes that this did as far as the course went was to make the course a much more uphill course at the beginning (not a big hill, just a gradual uphill as opposed to the rolling hill it was the last two years) and more downhill toward the end.
Ready to Run
One thing that I have noticed about a lot of races that never get any easier about race day is the tendency to run a few minutes behind, which means that the warm up is always a little bit off. So, as usual, we all deal with a little bit of nervous energy as we waited at the starting line. Something that was missing from years past that would have been helpful at the beginning would have been some sort of a call to get the runners roughly lined up in order of expected pace. This meant that a lot of the people who participated in fundraising teams ended up in the front of the starting line and ended up getting passed quickly.
However, as I went on the course, everything seemed to be going well. I knew that I was going to have to run behind a lot of people who would finish much slower than I would, so I ran to the outside to make it easier to pass. As I went on the course, things were going about the way they usually did on the course and I felt good about where I was. My goal was to go somewhere around 7:02 per mile and 21:50 overall for the 5000 meter course. I made it through the first mile in 7:08.4. This was quite a bit slower than I was hoping to run, but I did not feel too tired as I went through the run. I knew that if I averaged this pace for the race, I would end up running the course in about 22:08. This was not as fast as I wanted to run, but I knew that if I could hold that pace, I would break last year’s personal record on road courses for the distance.
Something Isn’t Right
As I went through the second mile, I started to feel a little bit tired, but I still felt optimistic about where I could go. The pack had already started to string out, but I was not on a speedy course. I went through the second mile in 7:21.9, or 14:30.3 for the first two miles. I felt exhausted, and to make matters worse, my throat was a little dry, and the water stop about two and a quarter miles into the race was not there. I felt exhausted, and I noticed that my breathing was suggesting something a little bit off at the two and a half mile point. Rather than the normal 2-2 breathing pattern (breathe in on two steps, breathe out on two steps) to a 2-1 breathing pattern (breathe in on two steps, breathe out on one step), or going roughly from 45 to 60 breaths per minute.
A Point of Decision
At this point, I was really feeling discouraged. My pace was off what it was the year before, and my breathing was becoming labored. It almost felt like my internal monologue was matching Homer Simpson arguing with himself “Just a little more. No, you can’t! Yes, I can!” Then, I took comfort in the fact that it didn’t look like there was anyone my age in front of me. I knew that I probably had a half a mile to go, and I felt like I was in a good place for this race. I knew that every second I got to the finish line faster would be a second that I would get a drink of water sooner.
So, I decided to keep going and give everything I had on the course. I knew about where I wanted to start my final kick going into the end of the race, and I decided to put a little bit of speed into my step. Much to my amazement, the third mile took 7:03.3 (with 21:33.6 for the first three miles), my fastest mile of the race, and I only had a little more than a tenth of a mile to go.
While I didn’t end up with a lot of speed in the very end of the race, I did push hard and got to the finish line in 22:29.4. It was 13.8 seconds off my time last year, but it was faster than anyone else between the ages of 30 and 39, meaning that I was the age group champion!
There was a point where I was discouraged and could have turned it into a trot at the end, but I knew that I had to stay in the race and keep going all the way to the end. When I did that, I ended up winning the age group.
How have you found success when you felt like everything was going wrong?
If you like what you read, please leave your comments below and share with your friends using the buttons above.
If you would like to learn more about the principles of personal development that have stood the test of time, please fill out the form for my Seven Day eBook Giveaway in the upper right-hand corner of this page.
This entry was posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 at 12:08 am and is filed under Personal Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.