From the Ground Up

As long-time readers anyone who's been here since Monday knows, this Sunday was my first ever #RaceDay. Me, a novice runner who laced up for the first time this past Christmas, finally ran my first race. It was the first "thing" I did as a 25-year-old, and a first I wouldn't have thought to plan for one year ago.

Completing that goal was a huge milestone for me. I battled a couple setbacks early in March, including a nasty bout of shin splints that refused to quit and the loss* of my first — and so far only — trainer/experienced running advisor/number-one motivator/running buddy. {*Don't worry, everyone is physically in tact; we just aren't able to run together anymore.}

So I was less than fully confident in my ability to perform well in this race — this race that I decided to do and registered for less than two weeks before the day of. Talk about moving quickly.

I didn't win or anything — of course not; I'm still working on pushing my distance rather than actively working on improving my speed — but the day and days since have been full of small wins.

On Monday, I went back to look at all the final stats for the race. As it turns out, I placed seventh in my age group, and 110th out of 305 overall. I also shaved 55 seconds off my previous best time running 3.1 miles. For the whole race, my average mile pace was just about equal {~2-3 seconds off} to my overall best mile pace to date.

No, I'm not winning a marathon anytime soon. I'm probably not even going to be faster than the 10-year-old girl who won her age group in the near future. But for my first race, one I was barely able to prepare for in the month leading up to it, on a cold, rainy, windy Sunday morning, I'm pretty damn alright with those numbers.

Especially since on Monday when I set out my post-work run, and I felt like stopping less than a mile in {I'd like to thank the trail I ran on and my complainy calves for that one}, the little trainer in the back of my mind remembered Sunday's stats was all 


because, uh hello, girl, you know you are physically capable of this and you're just being whiney and lazy.

And most importantly, these first numbers give me a baseline. A new time to beat, and new numbers to improve on. New fuel for every run where I'm pushing 4, 5 miles or more, wanting to give up, take a break, stop and walk. My first race is just that — my first race. There's nowhere to go but up from here.

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Don't worry, this isn't going to become a running blog. I hardly have the authority to write one, but running has become one of my favorite parts of my life. It's a space where I impress, surprise, and push myself, and learn how capable I am. And when you become capable of doubling a course when you thought you wouldn't even make it halfway through, how could you possibly think you're incapable of anything in this world?

Running has offered so me much insight into life in general. You learn what you're made of when it's 6 degrees and snowing at dusk, yet you still get outside and run. Your mind becomes stronger than you thought it could be when you're left to fend for yourself on your first solo run ever. You become able to quiet self-doubt, you learn your body and how to listen to it, you're suddenly a person who conquers every reason not to when you run. The worst thing I could do as a runner, a writer, and a gal-in-progress would be to keep quiet and be cavalier about everything I've gained from running. Running isn't my life, but running is undoubtedly making my life better.

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Let's keep this high going! Tell me about one of your wins {small victories or huge milestones — a win is a win!} lately.  :)

Comments

  1. Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment. I remember my first race, I did an 8km run in the poorest weather for running - rain, wind, blowing rain, cold. I was so glad when it was over, but was also so pleased with my performance. A year after my first race I did a half marathon! Pretty cool
    Congrats again, that's excellent.

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