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My relationship with running has been a little, well, complicated for the past few years. I had a flash of brilliance in 2013, where I set a number of personal bests at races and ran faster than I ever thought I could run… but then, when I didn’t
BQ break 4 hours meet my lofty expectations do as well was I was hoping to at the Baystate Marathon, I went too far with both disordered eating and overtraining that winter. I spent the next year climbing out of the tired and sluggish hole I dug myself into.
Then I discovered triathlon. The training has been amazing, but I spent a lot of time running easy in my training… and when I get off the bike to run after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride, my pace isn’t exactly blistering.
So I have spent the past few years telling myself that maybe my fastest running days were behind me.
But, man, I still have some goals for my running. I’d really love to qualify for the Boston marathon at some point, and I’d like to get better at my speed off the bike in my triathlons. I used to LOVE running fast, and I really want to get back there. So my goal this offseason was to work on my running speed and race a number of different races.
First up was the 5k. Which was a disaster- I blew up and fell apart. And that voice – Your best running days are behind you, Karen. You’re done! Was really, really loud.
Yesterday, though, I ran the Hangover Classic 10k. And in full disclosure, the title was fitting, because I was kind of hung over for the race; we spent New Year’s Eve with my BFF and I ate far too much bread and cheese and cookies and dip and drank champagne and stayed up far too late and then I couldn’t sleep in that morning, because I’m conditioned to wake up at freaking 6am.
(Totally worth it, though!)
But during my warmup, my heart rate was WAY higher than it should have been for my super slow pace. And I thought, well, maybe I should just take this one slow.
Yet when the race started, I decided to give it a shot and race it a little faster than I would like. I don’t run a lot of 10ks, and my best time to date was 52:38. If I could keep my pace below 8:30, I figured I’d have a shot at maybe getting a new personal record (PR).
And I sustained the harder pace, more or less, for the next 6 miles. I listened to music, a treat for me. When it got hard, I focused on running strong and relaxing my shoulders and using my arms and staying with the people in front of me.
And damned if I didn’t finish the race with a shiny new PR.
Intellectually, I know that running is largely a mental game, but yesterday’s race highlighted it for me.
Maybe my best running days aren’t behind me.