Pace Yourself

This morning I ran my first 5k. Something I’ve been wanting to do for 2 years but always had a reason or excuse not to do it. Now, as I’ve been training and preparing, all my friends who are experienced runners have been warning me not to start off to fast or try to keep pace with everyone else. “Just steady your pace to what is best and comfortable to you,” they’d say. I was mentally ready for that race to start and when I did…I took off. I looked around and thought I was doing a great job. Keeping pace with just a few others and doing my own thing.

I’m running along just enjoying the race and the beautiful weather, feeling great. Then my Nike+ app chimes in to let me know I’ve completed the first mile in 8’15”. Now, some off you think that’s kind of slow and some of you think that’s a good moderate pace. I freaked out. My fastest mile up until this morning had been 9’13”. I had no idea that I was running so much faster than my regular pace. My adrenaline was pumping and it felt great so it never dawned on me that I may have been pushing myself a little too much. 
Obviously, I decided it would be best to slow down but it was too late. I got to about 1.5 miles and really started feeling it. My legs were quickly tensing up and my breath was getting short. I had to stop and walk. Now, my goal leading into this was, regardless of time, to run the entirety of the race…so it was very disappointing to me that I had to walk.
Often in life, we rush things. We enter into a new situation; starting high school, college, a new job, moving, marriage, divorce, etc…and we try to rush the transition process so as to avoid being uncomfortable. When things don’t work out as we’d like them to, we tend to get discouraged, thinking we’ve somehow failed. 
Patience is a virtue. Even in the moments we want to rush things and would give anything for a quick turn-around or recovery, it’s best that we remain patient and allow things to unfold as they are supposed to unfold. I like to believe that everything has a way of working itself out.
My other goal in the race, besides running the entirety, was keeping my pace below 10′ and overall time below 31′. As I started walking, my spirits dropped as I thought there was no way I would meet, nonetheless exceed, my goals. I walked about a half mile, recovered myself, and took to running again, this time at a more manageable pace. As long as I could run the remainder of the race I would feel good about it. 
As I crossed the finish line (running :)), I was shocked when my app informed me that my overall time was 30’14” and my pace was 9’43”. I was convinced I wouldn’t even get close and yet I exceeded it. Be patient and keep your head up. Everything has a way or working itself out.
Special shout-out to one of my favorite persons in the world, Jim Wilson, for running it with me!

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