My goal during my run in the Cinco De Mayo 5K wasn’t to beat other participants, or to come in first. I left that to the man wearing nothing but running shorts and sneakers. Someone even made the comment: “You see that guy with no shirt on? He’s gonna be the winner.” And he was.
My goal was to improve. I wanted to set a new PR (personal record). And I wanted to run the entire 3.1 miles without stopping.
My stomach was upset. I told my husband, “I think I need to take it easy” because I thought for sure I’d have an accident (and not of the falling down kind) during the race. Yet when we started out, I couldn’t just settle into a slow jog. It’s hard to do, when you have so many other people running around you. I settled into a comfortable run. The running settled my stomach. I forgot about the other participants (other than the woman who bashed into me running the opposite direction; she said “MOVE” and hit me. DAMN!). I wasn’t in competition with them, I was in competition with myself. I listened to music and I let my feet carry me.
The water station was located halfway through, and I decided to bypass it, and turn around, heading back. Many times I thought about walking, even just a little bit. I started to see landmarks ahead of me, and I told myself, “just go to the underpass. Just go to the pole. Go to the bridge.” And this got me through.
I’m not the fastest runner, not by a long shot. I keep it steady. I came in at 9:52 per mile, and many others beat me. The half naked runner ran an impressive 5:20 pace! It’s easy to be hard on yourself, and compare yourself to how others are doing. The trick is, to compare you to YOU. My last 5k, I ran 10:44 per mile. I made an improvement, one I’m proud of, and my goal is to keep improving, even if it’s little by little.
Isn’t that the point?