I’ve been running for 2 and a half years now, and yes, I’ve done all sorts of races in that time (mostly in the last 8 months), but something happened to me this weekend.
On Sunday I ran the East Brunswick 10k (ebrr.org). I had no real expectations for the race, I hadn’t even bothered about toning down my Saturday antics (okay, so I did ride a little slower on my Saturday bike ride, but I still spent the afternoon eating and drinking with friends). My main aim for the race was to try to run a sensible race – something which has eluded me in anything longer than a 5k. It didn’t matter how fast (at least that’s what I tried to tell myself).
So, what happened? I loved every second of that run. Everything felt right, I was comfortable, and I was enjoying myself. I didn’t try to push that little more when someone I was running close to in the first couple of miles sped up enough to move ahead of me (a friend who is about as fast as me, but who I have been ahead of in most races). Ultimately around mile four, I caught him again, passed him, and didn’t slow down. The difference between my fastest and slowest mile of the race was just 6 seconds, and I felt great. It was a slower race than I ran in Newport early in the year, but that didn’t matter.
Since this weekend I have been constantly thinking about this run. Up until now, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I have perhaps been trying to be a runner, rather than just letting myself be one. It has always been about getting faster, and being fast no matter the cost, and it hasn’t always worked out. Now I realize that my goal is to run and enjoy, not worry about how fast I can be and just let it happen.
Whereas my goals for this year were to run a half marathon (I did 2 in the end) and break 20 minutes in a 5k (I managed to do this 4 times), next year my goal is just to run smarter and see where that takes me.