It’s been several days since my momentous (for me, at least) participation in Madison’s Crazylegs Classic running event. You could probably tell from my use of the word “momentous” that this run was a big event for me; it was the first time I ran in a road race, and finishing the 8 kilometers in just under an hour was a great accomplishment.
But as the euphoria (and stiff legs) I felt from that race begin to fade into a pleasant memory, I’m pondering… yeah, I performed well, but did I learn anything from my big experience? Well, let’s think about that for a little bit:
Prepare, prepare, prepare. As much as practicing is the only way to get to Carnegie Hall, I practiced by running for nearly 5 miles on a treadmill almost every week. I’m sure it was a contributing factor to this 46-year-old not wheezing and gasping for air at the end (or before it).
Nerves don’t last long. Yeah, I admit, I get nervous rather easily, and the immediate lead-up before Crazylegs was no different. But once I finally crossed that starting line, the nerves began to vanish and I just concentrated on my running. Just doing the job you need to do without the nerves feels so good.
Five miles is not one hundred yards. I say that to mean that a long-distance run is not a race against the clock necessarily. I admit that I let that thinking creep into my head after I put in a pretty fast (for me) first mile. But I did slow down a little bit as the race went on. But, still, you know what?
It’s okay to slow down a little bit. Yeah, that’s not good advice if it were a 100-yard dash, but 8K runs are endurance trips. So, I figure rather than go fast early in a future race, perhaps I should consider taking it easy in that first mile then step it up later. It could lead to a better performance in the future.
Sometimes it’s okay when the rain is pouring down on you. Well, at least when you’re working up a sweat running 5 long miles anyway. When I was getting hot and sweaty during my run, the rain shower that came at around the halfway point really felt good. Of course, there’s still something to be said for running through a nice and dry spot (thank goodness for that underpass around the 3.5 mile mark).
There’s nothing like that final stretch. And that doesn’t matter whether you run fast or slow during it. Knowing the distance in front of you gets shorter as you go on really motivates a runner to keep going. And once the finish line is crossed… well, you know that however you ran or how much pain you went through, running the race was well worth it.
And, boy, was it worth it for me. I can’t say it enough, I’m so proud of my accomplishment on Saturday.