I learned a big lesson at our 5K yesterday about myself. I wait for people…often. When a friend tripped at Black Diamond in 2007 I completely stopped and stuck with her, and another one the next year who was having a tough time in the water, and there are more – times when I didn’t go all out to hang with someone else in a race. I thought I did it because I wasn’t too competitive and cared more about them finishing then me getting a PR. Although that was part of it, I think there is more – I think waiting for someone allows me to be successful no matter what time I finish or how well or poorly I perform. I think it is a cop out, a way for me to give up – but save face at the same time. If I put myself completely out there and go for it – and fail – well let’s just say I don’t like to fail.
Yesterday I had big expectations of a PR for this 5K, I am 35 LBS down, in better shape then at any other point in my triathlon career, it was a no brainer to me, and I would hit something in the neighborhood of 40 minutes or maybe even less!
So we start off and very quickly I slowed way down because of shin splints (I have been struggling a little with this since getting rid of PF – it is like I traded one thing for the other), everyone was passing me (walkers, little kids, everyone). I got frustrated and stopped to wait for a team mate – I knew she was behind me and probably needed the encouragement of someone to finish with her and since my body wasn’t cooperating it made sense to walk with her and do it together.
In that second I knew what I had been doing all this time, if I was unsure of my performance I could simply come in with someone and I didn’t have to feel like I failed. I realized I couldn’t keep doing that, not if I ever wanted to be a true athlete. I couldn’t be paralyzed by the fear of not doing as well as I had hoped or thought I should. So I kept running, yep I had to slow way down and I was not going to PR, but I was going to do the best that I COULD DO.
A few minutes before the turnaround (I was bummed I didn’t wear my Garmin so I could know the miles) I started to feel good again – the shin splints subsided and I started to pick up speed. Just after the turn around I started passing people who had passed me earlier – a lot of them! I kept feeling better and moved at a great pace for the second half and ended up at 42.02.
Had I stopped and waited for my team mate, I would have never known the exhilaration of picking up a race from the ashes of disappointment and turning it into a success! I was moving at a good clip the second part of that race, I got my answer – I am faster.
So – no more waiting for people on the course – I need to go out there and risk the failure to reap the rewards - the new version of me will cheer her head off for you at the finish – but she won’t wait for you :-)
Also I checked my past 5K results and guess what I did set a PR after all! The other fastest 5K time for me was 42.52, even more proof that a race is never over – till it is over!