Sometimes You Surprise Yourself…

….And realize you can accomplish something were not planning on accomplishing.

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I was debating over the weekend on whether or not to do the Mad Dash 10k race I had signed up for (a local race) this morning…Craziness at work the past two days, having “a bug,” and not having gone for a run in at least six days dissuaded me from from running it.

Waking up to a downpour, thunder, and lightning gave me a perfect excuse not to participate in the race.

After a restless sleep, and dreams which included running races, at 8:40, staring at the rain outside, I decided to just do it. It’s rare when my schedule happens to accommodate a race, and when did anyone ever die from rain? The 10k started at 9:15.

Grabbing my rain jacket and a towel, with a goodbye peck to sleeping Kevin, and after a couple gulps of coffee and water, I headed (the one point five) miles to the race start.

You would think I would be familiar with the roads around the town in which I live. And, I am familiar with them…On a bike. The terrain is different running than when you are riding.

Leaving my iPod and phone in the car (why risk your phone getting wet just to Strava your race?), I made it to town, parked, did my usual “warm up” ( consisting of a couple jumping jacks) and found the start of the 10k. Due to the recent downpour, the race start was delayed. Yay! Giving me time to do a couple air jab punches in order to warm up.

Since I was not feeling 100%, had no music (I cannot remember the last time I ran without music–excluding the run portion of duathlon races), was still somewhat tired from a crazy work weekend, had not eaten any breakfast, and still digesting my inhaled coffee,  I decided this would just be a “fun run.” There was no need to set any records, nor any need to prove myself to anyone. Just use the race as something to do on my holiday off.

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Even though the start of the race was downhill, the course contained some rolling hills. At the 5k mark, I glanced down at my watch–yes, I was old school and used a simple watch to record my time–and noticed I was not doing too bad. And that is when the humidity struck. And the realization that there were rolling hills. And then trying to hum songs I knew in my head.

Without music to keep me going, I had to find things to occupy my thoughts as I ran. Shortly after the 5k mark, I noticed my shirt was inside out (I guess that is what happens when you decide last minute to run a race?). I’ll tell you, un-clasping small pins attaching your race number to your shirt, when you are drenched with sweat and running, isn’t too easy to do. But, I managed to switch the location of the bib to my shorts, and take off my shirt to turn it inside out (or is it right side in?) without running into another runner, or falling into the ditch. I am sure other runners figured I was simply nuts.  Hey, whatever diverts your attention away from the fact you are running helps, right?

Once the shirt was correctly on, it was mile 5. Glancing down at my watch, I noticed the time was 40:01. At the beginning of the summer, I made it a goal to run 5 miles in under 40 minutes. As the summer progressed, I forgot about that goal, and thought it was not possible. Today, I was surprised to see that I was one second off my goal. It may be one second, but considering I did walk a bit (to pick up the pins I dropped), I’m going to say I accomplished that goal.

And despite the last mile being composed of an incline, when I saw the clock at the end of the race read under 50 minutes, I figured, just kill it. Finish the race in under 50 minutes. That I did.  It may not be the fastest 10k time, but it ten minutes faster than I planned. I do not consider myself a competitive runner—all of the runs I run are done never with the intention of placing in my age group. I just always felt I was a slow runner. But placing in the top third of all runners, and receiving a first place medal for your age group, changed the way I think of myself as a runner.

I guess your personal goals are possible. Especially when you least expect them to occur.

The first time I have ever placed in a running race. First  in my age group.

The first time I have ever placed in a running race. First in my age group.

Never doubt your abilities to do something. Because if you put your mind to it, you can achieve them.

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Hello, My Name is ___.And I’m a Raceaholic.

If you have ever participated in a race (running, cycling, duathlon, or triathlon), you may understand the thought process associated with racing. I do not mean with the actual participation in a race, or emotions during a race–that is a completely separate post–but what is involved when choosing races. For me, looking at potential races is, ehh, addicting.Sometimes I think there should be a support group for people like me who constantly search for races that I can participate in.

“Hello, my name is Molly. I am a raceaholic.”

I came to this conclusion the other day, still on holiday, when I turned to Kevin and showed him a race website.

“Maybe I should train for this one?” I suggest, with a spark of excitement in my eye. Kevin let out a soft sigh.

“Molly, no. Put the laptop away…No races right now.” I silently shut the laptop, and did not think about races.

Less than twenty four hours later, while everyone was sleeping, and after failed attempts to watch ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ on Hulu (FYI, Hulu does not work overseas), I found myself yet again searching for races. Working certain weekends affords less opportunities to participate in certain races, as most races take place on weekends–which is a reason why I think I cherish when my schedule does let me participate in a race.  I find myself scrolling through races throughout the state (or outside the state for that matter). Ouu…a 50k on September 8th of 2013! That is a weekend I am not working—I could totally pull that off. Wait, even better, a 5k on Saturday, and a duathlon the next day….Perfect! There have been times when I’ve had to stop myself, and think realistically regarding certain distance races, which, I guess most people do not have to do. I.e. When I decided that running a 50miler on a Saturday and doing a sprint Triathlon the following Sunday would not be a good idea.

Returning to the night of the sad acceptance of my inability to watch trashy television shows overseas, I decided to run a marathon this May. On my birthday. Why not? I ran my first marathon on my 21st birthday…Running another one on my 27th sounds like fun!’** Mind you, the amount of time to train for said marathon will be cut a little short, but I am not worried about that. I’m not one to stick to training plans…Or train at all for that matter. However, I am determined to change that aspect of running races, as my body is not the young, limber one it was when I did my other marathons. Long gone are the days when I can decide two days before a marathon to actually take part in it, and have a functioning body post-race.

Anyway, there is a thrill associated with registering for a race. Once you click that “Register” button, or send in that mail-in registration form (which do not exist with too many races anymore), there is no going back. The challenge of the race awaits. It is exciting! However, my mentality of “just finish the race without dying” does not apply to multisport races. Different emotions errupt when registering with those. A competitive drive forces me to study my past results, and the results of others in my age group…To train so that I will be faster than last year…Get through transition times quicker and more efficiently.

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon--my first marathon

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon–my first marathon, 2007

Do you share similar thoughts and feelings towards racing?

*I admit it, I watch TRHW.

**Not too many people consider running marathons fun. Truth be told, it is fun when you finish.

***I convinced Kevin to run the marathon with me in May. This will be his first marathon. Ohh what I can convince people to do.  

When was the last crazy post written?

March 2019
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