My gosh, what an amazing time I had today at the Great Climate 10k Race! It was an awesome race for so many reasons, not least because I totally smashed my A, B, C and D goals (which I’ll get to in just a minute!!). But mostly it was such a great race because it showed me I’m all the way upright again. See… A month ago, I “fell”. I fell really hard and it was bad and ugly. I documented it in this blogpost for the world to see. Mostly, on this blog, you only see me at my best. Upright. But life happens and now you’ve now seen me fallen to the ground wondering what hit me.
Naomi Newman wrote, “On every fourth step, you are meant to fall down… on the fourth step, all forces gather together to stop you. And some people, when they fall down, they lie there for the rest of their lives. And some people learn how to fall-down-get-up. That is one move. Fall-down-get-up.”
Some people tried to kick me while I was down – I’m not sure why, but again, such is life and those people will always be out there ready to pounce. Some of you helped me back up – your comments meant the world to me and my heart is full of love and respect for you. This is our running community at its finest, those of you out there ready to help – there to lend encouraging words and helping hands when one of us stumbles or falls. I see it time and again on my favourite social networking platform – Instagram – one of the most encouraging communities I’ve been so lucky to be a part of.
I got up relatively fast. I’ve fallen many times before and as Newman points out, learning to get back up is like working a muscle – the more it happens… the more you do it, the better and faster you get at it.
I signed up for the Seattle Marathon 2 weeks ago and am pumped to run a marathon without “falling”. And I’ve got a fun race each weekend pretty much until the end of the year. I can honestly say I’m having fun!!
Which brings me back to today… I ran over to the start line of the inaugural Great Climate 10k Race this morning, which was at Second Beach in Stanley Park. It was literally the PERFECT running day – overcast, 7 degrees Celcius – but not a drop of rain… Which was a real worry after the crazy downpour of yesterday! I left my house late (oops) and arrived at the start line with not even 10 minutes to go… Checked my bag quickly – there was a long line, but they were super efficient and did a great job of checking everyones bags speedily – and slipped in with the 50 minute pace bear and my WestVanRun peeps, with mere minutes to go. So far so good!
My ‘A’ goal: Have fun.
I smiled and laughed with my run buddies until the gun sounded, and then we headed off. The route was around Stanley Park – probably one of the most scenic routes in… dare I say… the world?
Anyway, one of my most favourite routes ever, so how could I not enjoy myself out there?!! It was a bit crowded to start, a lot of jostling for position – as there usually is with races that begin in Stanley Park (the path is only so wide). I ran by feel, pushing as hard as I thought sensible (I didn’t want to crash mid race by burning it all up in the front half!) and hi-fived every single person cheering on the sidelines who was hi-fiving runners. I smiled at the amazing people out there cheering and playing music for us racers. There was a lot of great energy on the sidelines! At most kilometre markers, a race official was holding a little sign saying 2km, or 5km, or 8km and cheering us on.
When I crossed the finish line, a guy found me and told me he’d been chasing me down for 7km because he thought he knew me. Turns out I wasn’t who he thought I was, but as he passed me he glanced at me and was struck by what a huge smile I had on my face. I was racing and smiling. So awesome. I knew I had fun out there, but that kinda confirmed it. Goal A accomplished 🙂
My ‘B’ goal: Give it my best effort and don’t back off when it gets tough.
We all know how easy that first kilometre of a race feels! Actually it never fails to amaze me just how easy such a fast pace can feel for that first bit. We all know that doesn’t last though!!
By the half way point, it was definitely getting tough tough tough. Every time I felt like it was so tough and part of me was saying, “It’s okay, just slow down a bit”, I would actually try to surge and in fact pick up the pace. Every time it felt like it worked, it’d give me a bit of renewed energy and I’d push harder.
In fact, I really did think I’d look back on my splits to see my pace get faster and faster as the race went on, because that’s how it felt. Turns out I mostly maintained, and maybe slowed a touch near the end (lol), but goes to show you how drastically my pace might have fallen if I’d allowed myself to listen to the part of me that was asking to back off. All in all, goal B accomplished!
My ‘C’ goal: Finish with an average pace between 4:45 and 4:55 per kilometre.
This pace is just slightly faster than my marathon goal pace (if I decide to give myself that goal pace for Seattle that is), and given I’ve all but taken the last 4 weeks off of running (my weekly average mileage, which was 115km avg pre-Long Beach, has dropped by about 50% post-marathon), I knew my fitness level would obviously have fallen too, although by how much I wasn’t sure. It felt like this was a realistic goal. I crossed in 48:09 with an average pace of 4:49 per kilometre. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more and am really happy with my result! Yay, goal C accomplished.
My ‘D’ goal: Run home. Aka don’t call hubby to come pick me up or jump on a bus… Make it a good 24km run total.
This was actually tougher than I thought it was going to be! I have a habit of finishing a race and saying that’s it I’m done. In fact I’m infamous for never doing post-race cool-downs that my coach would put in my schedule. So bad – but after dashing for the finish line I could never fathom running more. Silly, I know.
But today I wanted to push past old barriers, so after grabbing some water, a banana and 2 mini Clif bars – off I went. I stopped after 2km and debated calling hubby to get me. But no, started running again. I stopped after another 2km and thought about catching the bus… Oooooh there it went. So instead I jumped into Seigels Bagels and got an orange juice and a bagel to go. Downed half the OJ, and somehow made it the remaining 3.5km home without stopping again. Boom! Proved to myself I can indeed run post-race (kind of, haha). Goal D accomplished!
Today was fun. It was a well organized race with a great cause, plus it’s really nice to be standing upright. Sure, there will be more falls in my future. That is life. I never know when that fourth step will be. But for now I’m loving being upright.
I can also assure you my fall-down-get-up move gets faster and smoother every time. And whether I’m up or down or anywhere in between… I continue to pursue my ultimate goal of running faster. When I stop trying to get faster, I’ll change my name from RunFasterSarah to RunHappySarah or something… But for now my driving motivator is speed – however, not at the expense of fun, camaraderie and enjoying the journey. I’ve read and seen that often speed comes with embracing full enjoyment of the sport. I can absolutely see how this might be the case… And I’m going with it.