Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Does Slow and Steady Really Win the Race?

I started this year with a serious speed goal: break 20 minutes in the 5k. I knew it was a really challenging goal, but challenges are my favorite. I started the year by shaving 41 seconds off my PR at the Super Bowl 5k. That PR still stands: 23:09. I knew taking another three minutes off would be tough, but my training was going really well.

It was going well until it wasn't. I started having dizzy spells and health issues at the beginning of May and spent a surprise week in the hospital. All of a sudden I knew running a 5k at that speed was unlikely particularly when my GI doctor prescribed several months of steroids. The goal changed to simply getting back into running.

The problem with getting faster is it increases my expectations. My PR of 26:00 stood from 2011 until the spring of 2014. I couldn't break 26 minutes to save my life, and once I did it's been a huge disappointment the few times I've gone over it. I've run 20 half marathons and have only broken two hours in 3 or 4 of them. Now if I run longer than two hours I'm so disappointed, and that is frustrating. I'm never going to win the Olympics. My focus needs to go back to the love of running not this obsession with time. 

Last weekend I ran the Dino Dash in East Lansing in 26:03. I felt really good. I've had a rough few months with hip and back pain, and running has been really hard. This is the best I've felt while running in months. I'll admit when I crossed the finish line and saw the clock above 26 minutes I was disappointed, but I forced myself to let it go. Feeling good and enjoying the beautiful fall morning was way more important than shaving a few seconds off my time.

The old adage "slow and steady wins the race" is an interesting one, and I guess it really depends on how we define the race. I've loved getting faster. It's been a run way to challenge my body and my mind. I also need to realize being faster isn't always the best thing for me physically or mentally. As I look toward the Detroit Half Marathon next weekend I am tempering my speed goals because I want to enjoy the race. Initially I thought I'd like to break 1:50 which would take a few minutes off my PR. Then I thought I'd just like to break two hours. Now I'm looking at my less than impressive training schedule and realizing I just want to enjoy the race. Whether it's 1:58 or 2:15, I will enjoy the race. I'll thank volunteers and high five kids and read all the signs. Slow and steady will win that race. 

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