A 1st Place Award and Lots of Mistakes!

When I left home this morning for the 45-minute drive to Russellville, KY, for the Russellville Romp 5K, I had two goals: to finish under 29 minutes and to win an age group award. Well, I guess ONE out of TWO isn't too bad.

I finished in 29:40 for a new 5K race PR and took home 1st place for the 35-39 age group. There were only two of us in that age group, however, but hey, at least I beat that other girl! It was a well-put on race except there was no food at the finish-- only water and Gatorade. I grabbed a water at the end and ran until I hit the 5-mile mark so I could be on track with my training group, who had a 5-miler this morning without me.

But, I made several dumb MISTAKES with today's race.

1. I broke the cardinal rule of racing---Don't try anything new on race day. I had been reading up on energy drinks. I've had a few people say they drink a Red Bull before racing. I've never had a Red Bull in my life. I thought I'd start lighter with a Propel Invigorating Water with vitamins, electrolytes, and 20mg. of caffeine. Sounds promising, no? Well, the 20 mg. is per serving, and the bottle holds about 2.5 servings. I was an anxious, jittery mess at the start of the race. I don't know if it was the caffeine or nerves that I wouldn't do well in the race. I also had a breathing problem. I ran 1/4 mile to warm up pre-race (actually doing something RIGHT), and even with a slow pace, couldn't help but fight breathlessness. That made me more nervous because when that happens, I'm usually in for a rough run. I wonder if the caffeine could have caused that? Or if I'm out of practice for 5K's. I seem to remember this feeling before...

2. The second mistake was one I've made over and over in 5K's and one 10K. I started out too fast. In the first 1/4 mile, I looked down at my Garmin and I was running at a 7:36 pace. Now, for some folks, that would be a good race pace, but for me it is insane! My goal was between 9:00 and 9:35 miles, and 7:36 doesn't factor in there. I tried to slow down, but the caffeine and adrenaline made it hard. I thought I was slowing down a little finally, but Garmin still said 7:39. I told myself (literally), "Slow down, fool!" (Not out loud. Wouldn't want to get punched if someone thought I was referring to them.) I finally slowed down. Way down. I took 3 walk breaks. Sigh. This always happens. I can run 3 miles nonstop, but when I start out too fast, I use up all my energy too soon. Will I ever learn?

3. Finally, my last mistake was allowing the specter of self-doubt to rear its ugly head. This happens a lot in races. I'll set a goal, and at some point within the race I'll decide it's out of my reach, and I'll just give up. I'll take walk breaks when I don't absolutely need them. I actually considered quitting once! Then, toward then end, I'll see the goal IS actually within my reach if really bust my booty. Usually, I make it! But today, the walk breaks put me too far behind.

What's the good thing about mistakes? Learning from them. Not repeating them. Breaking the pattern. The 2nd and 3rd I mentioned are what I'd call chronic mistakes I make. Maybe now that I've put them down on paper (so to speak), I'll do better.

Speaking of doing better, my husband and I are going to do a 5K next Friday together. It's his first! We are going to do a little race in White House, TN, called the Independence Day 5K. Then, Saturday, my half-marathon training officially starts.


Congratulations on an excellent time ... and for drawing such valuable lessons from your run. I'm curious to hear how your next 5K goes.
Lisa said…
Your mistakes are good lessons for us all. Thanks for sharing! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Good luck next weekend with avoiding your mistakes and have fun with your 1/2 marathon training!