Searching for my PR

September 10, 2016

"Running teaches me that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined"

It was one of those mornings where everything delivered a sting of tears, from a cable station to a card, a movie preview to a photo, if asked to speak, fresh tears would surely fall. Where this emotional overload derived from I cannot say? Maybe a dose of anxiety while I attempt to distract the melancholy pangs on the morning of another race as my angst becomes a mindless attempt in softening the goals I strive to achieve.

Running is difficult, and with every race there are the obstacles including the aches and pains before you even begin, not to mention the hills and the heat, just to name a few, but through those challenges accolades are distributed as I witness my progression, feel the runners high as well as bring home trinkets and medals from another race, all while untangling the turmoil as it unravels into stories to dare my mind, heart and body. 

At the start of the 5k I am ready, although nervous once I notice how quickly I have receded from the pack. But eventually things begin to fall in place as I figure out how to control my breathing and discover a pace for the rhythm of this run, recollecting a mantra of "yes I can" while I maneuver through the trails.

By mile two breathing flares into wheezing and my legs implore me to walk, but I know of the trickery in regret and create the momentum I need to gather my breath and push through these aches to achieve my best.

With the finish in site I notice the clock time and sigh since not only has my PR departed, but the first, second and third finishers have already crossed. And while I succeeded at maintaining a positive outlook, my inner monologue was questioning my ability, suspicious of my intensity, a discomfort which settled in for much of the morning.

As the day waned on and the feelings subsided I returned to a frame of gratitude. My official finish was 27:27, a huge improvement from any other year of running landing me 4th for my age group, a mere 14 seconds behind 3rd place, I note after viewing the results.

With a spatter of pride the results also revealed my time would have placed in almost every other age category while still appreciative of how many women in my age group ran a powerful race and provided a challenge for me to work harder, what a concept.

The next morning after unraveling my running frustrations it was time to get back out on the trails to run, survey my difficulties and discover new strengths. As we head down the path maintaining a determined front, we emerge running a strong 8 mile loop and obtaining some of our best pacing ever, providing a rebound to my confidence.

And just like every other difficult run, the heat was miserable, my body ached and my mind begged me to walk, but with a running partner there to help push through the demanding parts we created optimism, a rediscovered accolade that provides the truest reward of them all.

Preparing for my next race will always deliver the angst to do better, running is a competition with yourself and I will always run to achieve my best and hopefully a PR, all the while remembering how these struggles provided the clarity in the distance I have traveled on this journey, a journey that continues to bring pride and defeat with a nudge to try again, because that is when authenticity is revealed.

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  • September 14, 2016 @ 9:18 PM EDT
    By Kathy Henderson
    Very nice detail of how we go through every emotion on our running journey! And also a note about your running partner!

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