It's Monday and the start to another week for us all. It was a BIG racing weekend. Almost every runner I know was running a race on Saturday or Sunday. Whether it be a 5K fun run, half marathon or a mighty marathon, people were running in large numbers this festive St. Patty's Day weekend. Lots of green was worn and libations were flowing, so I hope everyone had a safe weekend.
I too decided to run a race this past weekend, at the last minute too, I registered on Thursday for a Sunday run. I never wait this long to sign up for a race. I'm a total planner and look forward to each and every race I run. I plan the day, what I'm going to wear, how I'm going to get there, if I'm meeting with people. All that good stuff. But I received an opportunity that I didn't want to turn down and knew that I had to jump into this race with both feet and go for it.
I'll leave the full race recap for tomorrow, but I wanted to talk about this race a bit. I was nervous about this race because the first half of it goes up a long, long hill. I'm not kidding, for a 3.6 mile race, two miles of it is uphill, so it is no joke. I had run this race the year before and knew how it had defeated me. I had taken several walk breaks and really just didn't feel good about my performance.
I was thinking about that the Friday night before the race and realized that I have never really left myself out on the race course. I've never had that exhausted, "I'm spent" feeling after a race where I felt like I had absolutely nothing left to give because I had left it out there. I would hear this countless times from other runners, but I always felt like I was holding back at times and I didn't know why. So I decided I would try that during this race. Run hard, not my training speeds (which have started to pick up, might I add) but find a racing speed and give it my all.
So during the race I was really putting it down, I was running at speeds that I don't usually do, uphill for a consistent mileage. It was thrilling, exciting and exhausting. I felt it in my lungs first, I hadn't prepared them for this pace. Then it was in my legs. Then my hips. Then...my head. "I can't keep this pace", "I can't finish like this", "I just want to stop and walk". So when I saw the below, I felt it was perfect for today's Momentum Monday.
I was in pain. My lungs were hurting. All I wanted to do was quit. I was literally a quarter mile from the finish and I wanted to stop and walk. But I couldn't. I didn't want to. I had to finish strong. I had to run it out. My reward was going to be a shiny new PR and I knew I had it already, but I wanted to make it a better one. I wouldn't quit, I wouldn't stop, I was going to dig deep and leave it all out on the course.
So I did. I kept running, never taking my eyes off that finish sign and sped up just a bit before that line and crossed it. Feeling elated. Feeling rewarded. Feeling exhausted. I had spent everything I had in my legs on that run and it was the best feeling ever. Don't get me wrong, I'm sore today. My hips are protesting me now, but I wouldn't have run that race any other way. It felt good to race a race, instead of run a race. I think it is two different mindsets and now I know the difference. I loved to race before, but now I'm loving it even more.
Question for you: Did you race this weekend? Do you race a race (leave it all out on the course and exhaust yourself) or do you run a race (where you have plenty of energy and you aren't spent)?