So I raced! “We know, you did a half marathon!” Yes, but I’m not gonna talk about that race, I’m gonna tell y’all about the 5k Turkey Trot at my job last week.
The level of organization at the work gym meant that I had about 5 days notice about this race. I haven’t been running much lately because I’ve added swimming, biking, and strength training into the mix. I’m working out a lot but I’m not running that much. I do have a lot of residual fitness from my half marathon training but that was a long slow race and 5ks are short and sharp.
I showed up on the day trying to talk myself out of running as fast as I could. That did not work. I warmed up a bit (not as much as if this was a goal race) and lined up with the 25 other runners and walkers. Ok, we didn’t line up, we milled about until the gym lady said “go!” Then most of us went out way too fast.
I have this thing, a feeling, that because I am not a very fast runner (yet!) I’m not really allowed to be competitive. Well, yeah, fuck that. In this tiny little, non-timed, non-certified race I had a really good chance to win the women’s division and I went for it. I knew from my tempo runs that I could keep at about 10 min/mile for 30 minutes. I aimed for that level of effort. I was on the vomit line for a lot of the race e.g. if I went any faster I would. Half a mile before the finish two women passed me. I had seen them closing at the turnaround and I tried to pick it up but they got that “horses coming to the barn” energy and I’d been redlining it from the start. I made up some time when they had to stop for a red light (yay podunk races!) but I couldn’t keep with them.
I got third though! I made the overall women’s podium! Even better, I averaged 9:54/mile, which is really good for me. That I did that on no race specific training when I’m beating my body up with a whole lot of other stuff is even better.
The moral of the blog post is that even if I’m not “fast” it’s ok for me to be competitive. I don’t have to caveat my racing with “Well, I call it ‘eventing’ because I’m not going to win anything.” I am allowed to go for it as hard as I can and to race other people and want to beat them.