10K on the runway: a humbling run

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April and Janie after the Saint John Airport run

I’ve been on a bit of a good running streak lately, signing up for lots of races and getting a little faster along the way.

So when the Saint John Airport 10K came along on Saturday, I was like, I’ve got this.

The race is always a blast, as you take off with a throng of runners on a fast, flat course. My goal was to beat 55:17. I figured it was reasonable for a new mama, because it was my time for the same course three years ago, for my first 10K. (I ran it again in 2013 at 53:57).

So I strapped on my Garmin and told myself to keep a pace under 5:30 min/km.

It went pretty well for the first half. In fact, my pace was closer to 5:15. I was feeling very confident.

But then, after circling the airport runway once, I realized I was out of juice. All I had in me was 5K at that pace. I had to slow down. Suddenly I was way over 5:30. And I felt pretty downtrodden. I was about to clock in a personal worst for a 10K.

For the remainder of the race, I obsessively checked my watch. I made little goals to force myself to keep running. But I felt like I was going on fumes. It did not feel fun at all. My face was red hot and my mouth was dry.

I finished at 55:20, which is actually not bad, considering my pace for recent races. I placed 7/20 in my age group. But I still felt humbled – and exhausted. I realized I still have some work to do before I am as fit as I was pre-pregnancy.

Upon reflection, I’ve realized why I did not feel good about this race. I was too hung up on the numbers. 

When I enjoy a run, I’m feeling the air, listening to the sounds, and finding my comfortable pace. I didn’t allow myself to do that on Saturday. Instead, I was a slave to the watch.

I know there are many other things I could have done to make this race better: get more sleep, drink more water. I should have had a little snack shortly before the race. I could have trained better.

But I’m not in this to win. I run because I enjoy it. And why bother if I’m going to get hung up on paces, numbers, seconds?

Lesson learned: for my next 10K in Halifax two weeks from now, I will not wear a watch. OK, I might wear it, but if I do, I will set my pace based on how I feel. I’ll enjoy the experience, and take it as it comes.

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April Runs On

A writer who loves to run, often while chasing a toddler on the east coast

3 thoughts on “10K on the runway: a humbling run”

  1. humbling is good sometimes. but that’s pretty good post baby.! and not that far off from what you wanted to run.
    Great job.! and try not to stress so much about the numbers :p

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