Returning to a race with high expectations
It’s difficult, as a runner, not to try to compare races. And normally races do stand on their own. No race is exactly like another. Weather, people, and even how you feel that day can affect performance and overall mood.
But this is a first for me…because I am returning to a race for the first time. Ever.
Last year, I ran in the Tomorrow’s Children 5K race in Frankfort, Kentucky. The race basically benefits people in the Frankfort community who are struggling with infertility. It’s held as a fundraiser and a way to bring awareness of the organization to the community. I have quite a few friends who struggle with infertility…so, this was a good cause to run for.
Back in 2011, this was my second 5K I ever ran. Ever. As in the history of my running career…which at that point consisted of a couple months of running around the track at the YMCA…little runs on the treadmill at the gym…and one 5K race a couple weeks prior. So, I was still quite the newbie to the racing scene. And, the drive out there was interesting as we had s a bit of thunder, some lightning, and a lot of rain. The lightning was gone by the time we got to packet pickup, but the rain was still constant. Up until the race was about to begin. Then…there was a lull.
But that only lasted a moment. No sooner had the race kicked off, but the sky opened up again and down came the rain. But, runners run in rain all the time. This was a new experience for me. And guess what…it was kinda fun too.
Dripping wet, I crossed the finish line in 27:04.
And won first in my division.
In my second 5K race…ever.
So, let’s put it this way…I’m nervous about not living up to that this year. The weather is supposed to be good…during the race. Keeping with tradition of me running in Frankfort, Kentucky…rain is scheduled for that day…just after the race is run. So, the turnout might be better. The runners…might be stronger. And, I feel like I have to prove to myself that winning that division title wasn’t just a fluke of bad weather and a small turn-out. I feel like I need to prove that I rightfully earned it…even with it being my second race ever.
Yeah, that’s a little bit of pressure weighing on my shoulders. And, of course, I might feel like a little bit of a failure should I not clinch the title this year too. But, you know, I don’t run to win divisions or place. I run because it’s something I enjoy and love to do. But, a part of me feels like I have a crown to defend here. And, despite having been nursing a sore Achilles tendon all week, a part of me wants to run like I’ve never run before tomorrow and just see what comes of it.
In the end, I’ll run a smart race. And whether I place at all won’t matter in the end. What matters is that I finish…be it first or last. And that’s the hardest lesson for some runners to bring to each race…and take home from each race too.
Do I feel like I have something to prove tomorrow? Yes. It’s only natural.
But if I walk away just another finisher…I’m okay with that too. I’m a winner just for taking part and finishing. And if I can do so without limping due to a sore tendon…all the better.
Second verse…same as the first? We’ll find out tomorrow.