My Fall Race Goal

My Fall Race Goal

A few years ago, I ran races with a fervor. I think I got a little burned out and I know it wore on my body. Let’s be honest, it didn’t do my bank account any favors either. Races are not cheap, my friends! After last year’s 25k, I hardly ran. When I did, I felt sluggish on my best days, and more often than not, I couldn’t run without pain. My IT band burned and my hips ached. Mentally and emotionally, I was just discouraged. Without a doubt, and entirely in hindsight, trying to work through my grief played into everything.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I needed a break from this sport that I love. Over time, I realized I was running not because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. That’s not a healthy mindset and it only fueled how much I didn’t want to log miles. I registered for a couple spring races at the beginning of the year hoping it would motivate me, but it didn’t. Fortunately, I was able to defer both entries to 2019. I also had a sprint triathlon on deck for this past weekend, but the morning of, I woke up with an incredible migraine that kept me in bed. I had an incredible amount of anxiety about the race which likely brought on the migraine.

Yet, in the last couple of weeks, the itch to run is there again. I started dreaming big about a fall half, or even full, marathon. I etched out a training plan that allowed me a several weeks to build up a decent base. But, I went for a three mile run and struggled just as much as I did for the last year. When I really thought about it, I admitted to myself that I didn’t want to dedicate my Saturday mornings to running ten or fifteen miles. As much as I still have goals I want to tackle with distance running, my heart isn’t there right now.

Back to the drawing board.

What I realized is that I need to go back to the basics. So, I’m doing the program that got me started running over a decade ago:  Couch to 5k. I’m on week two right now, and it’s somehow humbling and encouraging at the same time. During my run intervals, I’m relearning what it means to run fast. Or, at least what is fast for me. Granted I’m only running for ninety seconds at a time, but it’s so fun seeing paces in the 8 minute range. It’s hard, but I’m pushing myself in a way I haven’t wanted to in a really long time.

My Fall Race Goal

Once I decided that I would work through C25k again, it only made sense to find a 5k to properly race. Although I’ve run almost twenty races at this distance over the years, they were almost all for fun or as I was training for a longer race. My current PR of 29:02 is from April 2014 and it was, not surprisingly, in a season when I was training for a 10k PR. A quick Google search for a local 5k with a finisher’s medal led me to my fall goal race:  the GRR Runway 5k! The course is on the runway of our local airport! Other than running through a tunnel that goes under a runway, it will be a flat, fast course.

GRR Runway 5k

I’m nowhere near setting a time goal, other than the broader intention of a PR. So, I’m using a 29:01 finish as my framework in these early stages. Let’s be honest, though. Runners (almost) always have a time in mind, even if they say they don’t. While a lot may change between now and October 6, I would love to see something in the 25 minute range as I cross the finish line. It’s a big goal, but one that I am really excited to put in the work to achieve. That excitement is just one more piece of the puzzle as I work to put myself back together.

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