If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. It’s surely one of the worst cliches in the book, but after going through these last 17 days, I have grown fond of the phrase.
If you ask some people, they may find running a 10k to be an easy task to complete. Others may find the idea of running that kind of distance to be treacherous. Most people will ask you, “why on Earth are you asking me? I don’t care.” Anyways, the difficulty you see in running a 10k is not important. The idea behind this whole training process was to achieve a goal set that I found would bring me satisfaction if I worked hard at it. If you think running a 5k or even a mile is difficult, then why not set goals to conquer that feat? My friend Finn Melanson decided at some point last year that he would take this summer to hike the entire Appalachian Trail by himself. He is currently on the trail in Maine now and is expected to finish in a couple of weeks, and his mental toughness and determination is what is keeping him going through it all. Put your mind to anything, and you can achieve it. Here is Finn’s blog where he has been giving updates on his hike. I highly recommend checking it out.
Last time I checked in, I said that I had a tough time getting my distance up. I had an expectation to run as fast as I used to. How did I change that? I turned off expectations. Previously, I would have my phone give me updates every 5 minutes and every half mile on my pace which led to discouragement. I decided to turn off all updates from my phone and never look at the clock. If I was going to finish this race, I needed to just complete a certain distance in my training, regardless of how fast.
I previously mentioned about a positive attitude to running and how it felt when you completed a successful run. My first run without timing myself was hands down the best I had ever felt running in years. I went about 3.5 miles at an 8:20 minute/mile pace, but I felt like $1,000,000. I had achieved exactly what I wanted; a run for a better distance and a run where I was motivated to run again. Instead of dreading my time running, I focused on not exhausting myself early and maintaining a pace that was comfortable.
I ran a total of 8 times throughout my training, but I only ran over 3 miles 3 times, with my longest distance being 4.35 miles. My pace for those runs were between 8-8:30 minutes/mile, and I had negative splits every single time. Even though I never got myself to run an actual 10k, I was confident that I would be able to finish the race.
To be honest, I sort of stopped thinking about my diet this past week. Not to say I indulged in sweets and beer, but I never really thought twice of what I should eat. My weight dropped from about 162 to 157 in two weeks, but if I had focused more on my diet throughout the whole time, I could have been closer to 155. With that being said, losing 5 pounds was essential in my training, and if you want to train for a race, you need to pay some sort of attention to your diet.
Waking up at 5:30 AM is something I do not enjoy. Waiting 2 and a half hours before you actually run is something I enjoy even less. Going into the race I had a plan to run the first 2 miles without feeling any sort of fatigue. The longest I had ran was 4.3 miles, so I assumed if I didn’t waste any significant energy in the start that I would be okay.
The first two miles are essentially flat-surfaced, which is exactly what I trained on. I completed them at about a 8:25 mile pace, which was much faster than what I was planning on. The thing was that I actually felt exactly as planned. I still had a full tank, but since my pace was already faster than any goal I had, I did not speed up.
Around the 2.5 mile mark my left foot went completely numb. I had tightened my shoe too strong pre-race and decided to stop quickly and loosen my shoe. Unfortunately for the rest of the race, my entire foot and parts of my lower ankle were completely numb. It was awkward and a little concerning, but nothing to slow me down.
Mile 3 was completed in 8:17, and I still had plenty left. With half the race to go, I knew my chances to finish were as close to 100% as they had ever been since day 1, and the large crowd cheering you on after finishing the first 5k only helped me. Mile 4 was my fastest of the run, finishing it in 7:53. Gotta give the fans who showed up to cheer on the runners the credit there.
Mile 5 is pretty much all downhill, but after getting a little too excited in front of the fans must have slowed me down. I finished just over 8 minutes.
If you have ever ran the Beach to Beacon, then you know everything you need to know about the last mile. I think there are about 4 large, steep hills you get the pleasure of climbing after running 5 miles. Each time I have ran this race I have depended on adrenaline and fear of not finishing the race to get me through it. For the first time ever, I had enough energy to not hate every step towards the finish line.
I crossed the finish line at 51:26 net time (8:17 minutes/mile), and for the last 50 yards I had enough left to sprint to the finish line. Unaware of just how dead my legs were, I wasn’t able to slow down too quickly and almost ran over a fellow runner. As I dodged the runner and tried to put on the breaks, I ended up right beside former Olympian and first ever gold medalist for the woman’s marathon Joan Benoit. I like to think that this was destiny for me to continue my running and become a future Olympian.
Wow. I was not expecting to be able to run that fast once I set a goal to just finish the race. It was not my best. Far from it, actually, but it might have been the most rewarding of the three times I’ve ran the Beach to Beacon. My dad asked me when I would go on my next run because I have a tendency to quit right after that race. In spite, I went on a short 2 miler yesterday. It hurt a lot, but I noticed that I want to actually keep up my running lifestyle this time around. I have no expectations, and perhaps not too many goals, but just going out and completing something so physically demanding can make you feel so much better about yourself. I really enjoyed this experience and hope you guys and girls will start training for a race in your area soon!