I decided to run a 10K race because it scared me. A delightful friend was asked to run it and invited others, especially those that were scared, to join her in an empowered and supported way.
There were three choices: walk 5K, run 5K or run 10K. I had run a 5K in my twenties and I walk 5K on many of my regular days so I wanted something new. After I signed up I looked it up and realized it was further than my commute from home to work – the worry started a little just then.
I like running and have had different seasons including running in my life. I like it because I think it is important for people to see bodies like mine are capable of running, it feels very stress relieving, and you can sound so very impressive when talking about it.
So I decided to start a new season with running, run 2x longer then I had ever run, do it in front of others, and to add learning to run in barefoot-style runners at the same time (you know….as you do…..¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
I must admit I wasn’t really prepared for what would come up. The 5K had been fun from training to the actual day, so I expected the same. This time though it brought up so much:
The beginning was that my knees had a fairly pouty response to the barefoot shoes. So, still enthusiastic, I sought out rehabilitation exercises to make them stronger each day and continued to train very slowly.
I moved to a treadmill when the Canadian winter decided it was time and kept increasing my speed and time. Now I was in the zone, making big strides in my training and running new and longer distances to my immense pride.
The weather cleared up and I geared up to run outside again. Ah yes – me and the open wind, majestic, free, inspiring…..or perhaps not! I knew that the switch back outside would set me back a little since the treadmill helps you along, but it was like starting from scratch again. I wasn’t in any pain gratefully, but the stamina seemed to have all left. This was the first time I started to actually doubt my ability to run this race and my mind started playing with quitting.
Outside commitments work well for me – on the Gretchen Rubin scale I am definitely an obliger, so once I have committed to others, I am way more motivated to meet a goal. I used this to keep dragging myself out to run. The runs were a bit of a fiery mess both emotionally and for my tomato hued face, but I did keep going and it did slowly start getting better again. The pride of something hard is always so much more delicious.
Okay in the groove again. I am a slow runner, but a runner nonetheless…. and then my hips wanted to join the party! At this point, I want to throw a fairly impressive tantrum. I am feeling like I am way too active to have this many issues and starting to get angry – which is fascinating from a Chinese Medicine perspective because the hips are home to the liver and gallbladder meridians of wood element and the emotion for wood is anger. Wood is also all about making a plan and sticking to it… how very charming!!!
So again I delve into the world of specific exercises to strengthen my hips and start getting acupuncture and massage to move through the physical and emotional components. As with the knees, continuing to run actually makes it better, not worse, so I continue.
Okay made it through and the day of the race arrives… pouring with rain! Now for most people, this is less than best case scenario and for me, this is my kryptonite weather. Rain makes me, and many with my constitution, feel heavy, slow and often even very sad. I was way too set on going to stop now though, so I wrapped my fantastic playlist filled phone in a ziplock bag and hoped the fabulous sporty headphones my spouse had gifted me as encouragement would be protected enough with my hood.
And I did it! I finished the 10K race. I didn’t have any pain and I ran most of it with a smile on my face feeling great!
Afterwards, I thought I would feel triumphant, but I actually didn’t. I compared my times with others and found out I was only 6 places up from coming last. I added all kinds of reasons why I shouldn’t be proud of myself – I wasn’t just slow I had done planned walks 3x for 1 min each to just reset and ensure I felt great (gasp – I know a whole 3 minutes!!), I didn’t feel the triumph I thought I would, other people run so much longer… etc. you get the point!
So this whole experience has been so illuminating. It helped me find physical weaknesses I didn’t know I had with the current ways I move. It showed me where I have been being really hard on myself and not even realizing and it reminded me that I can do more than my mind may try to convince me.
I have now come to realize how amazing it was to run 10K. I even saw the distance driving with my spouse and tried to argue that it hadn’t been that far only to be proven wrong and really have a sense of just how far it was. Honestly, I needed to rely on people in my life to shift my perspective.
Moving through a difficult goal can certainly increase confidence – but you also just might learn more than you expected.