Happy Labor Day weekend! The days go by slow but the weeks go by fast.
I really went big or went home running-wise this weekend.
Well...I went home that is.
I DNF'd a 5k on Saturday.
Uhh...how is it possible to DNF a 3 mile race? It's possible. Here's the story.
Saturday morning, I woke up around 6 AM, ready for the 5k that I'd signed up for a few weeks back. I was exhausted from the week, other random life stuff (whine whine), but I figured, time to run this and just see what I could do.
Turns out not much.
My friend Laura and I got to the park in Irvine where the 5k was and I warmed up a bit. The race was taking place in some giant asphalt field. Sort of like an airport runway. I didn't feel great..didn't feel terrible either. I figured shooting for sub 20 was a little ambitious, but that I would go out and try. As we were on the line, the race director announced that the race was more like 2.95 miles...or 2.90...eh..who really knows.
This baffled me. If you're organizing a 5k in a park with plenty of space and you know the course is short, why not just make it a little longer.
Also, the course wasn't chip timed but had prize money for the winners. Weird stuff.
Before I knew it we were off. I remember looking at my watch about 4:30 into the race and thinking "man...I feel like I've run at least over a mile". As we approached the mile mark, I saw the clock tick to 6:42 for the first split. Some dude pushing a stroller passed me, and I was already way off goal pace. Right around then, I just didn't feel like running anymore.
I quit a race and wasn't even hurt. I just felt slow. My feet felt heavy and pushing through 13 more minutes was not my idea of fun.
Logically I could excuse this in saying that since my body was physically pretty broken down from little sleep and the relay last week, and there was no need to push through. But really, I was just being lazy and a tad prideful in not wanting to finish a "bad" 5k. I don't feel that bad about it though. Stuff happens and sometimes you're just not up for life's challenges.
After deciding to leave the race, I pulled off the course, and jogged back to the start of the race just in time to see the first racers finish. I saw the first woman. She was on the heels of a couple really fast dudes. Graceful and long legged with a ridiculously fast stride, she finished around 16:00. Daannnggg.
Watching her, I felt jealousy. I wished I could be that girl, right up there with the fast dudes, kicking butt, looking great. And I know I'll never be at her level. Which sometimes makes me think..."why even bother?". Which is a dumb thought. If you don't do something because you can't be the best, no one would ever do anything.
Then I thought, how can we realize our full potential? What are we capable of, running-wise?
To improve, maybe I need to just run more in addition to my increased intensity workouts. My 25-30 miles a week I put in is pretty ridiculously low. And probably the reason I take forever to recover from races. That night, I spent some time Googling terms like "Does running more mileage help you get faster?".
And honestly, I don't know. I've never run more than about 40 miles a week. It seems counter-intuitive to me that putting some more 9 minute miles would really benefit anything besides being able to eat more cookies and not gain weight. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is a real benefit to just getting out there and putting in the time needed to excel. And where do you get the time to put in those miles? Sigh.
So...I think I may give up this 5k chasing for a bit and start building more of a base. More time to run long and relaxed outside and get my body more used to running. Less time to beat myself up over short distance races. The sub 20 5k dream isn't over, just on the back burner for a bit.
What works for you, running-wise? More miles? More intensity? Have you ever DNF'd a race?