A couple of weeks before this race I already knew my pre-break dream of completing it under 20 minutes was unattainable—my fitness was, and still is, far from achieving that result. But I was expecting to at least score a similar time to that of my last 5K race: 20:40 (more or less, it wasn’t an officially measured course). So when I found myself barely able to move my legs at the 3-kilometer mark, I knew I was in serious trouble.
Getting to the Gist of the Failure
I don’t like running the 5k because I’m a wus. Simple as that. 5Ks hurt. They hurt galore, and I’m having a hard time battling with that pain when I’m running. I give up much too soon. My head is too weak to stand the challenge.
So if you suspect I stopped during the race, you’d be right. I stopped twice! Exactly the same thing I did the last time. Well… I couldn’t take the pain.
Of course, it all boils down to not being prepared enough and attempting much too fast a pace from the get-go. And even though I was trying to be wiser this time, I still ended up grinding the gravel hard for the first two minutes of the race—I didn’t think much of it at the time, but dashing forward at around 3:45 for two minutes does leave a hell of a mark on a runner, especially during a 5K race.
Still, I was holding up relatively fine for the first three kilometers. Gracelessly juggling the mounting exhaustion and reluctance toward the pain, I realized I wasn’t focused. Nor could I muster any focus once I caught myself. None of my mantras worked, and I found an odd lack of motivation toward even trying to focus. All my spirits left me, and they left me for good. I was suddenly shattered, fighting for every step. Then I stopped.
I felt no shame as the fellow runners in pain passed me by. I felt envious for their capacity to endure what I simply couldn’t. With the last dredges of motivation, I resumed running, lasting no more than half a mile before surrendering again, a mere 500 meters before the finish line.
This time, however, I stopped only for a second—I saw another woman a few yards away, determined to beat me. I couldn’t allow it 😉 Pride-fuelled rage propelled me forward, and I dragged my lead-filled legs toward the finish line, crossing it at 3:00/km! I won with the girl by one second, finishing at 21:32.
The result was such a disappointment that I briefly questioned that whole running thing. I mean, why bother when you can run a tempo session faster than a 5K race?
Pushing Hard, Getting Nowhere
That’s what I’ve been experiencing ever since I returned to running after a week-long break in October. Not in my wildest dreams did I suspect that such a detrimental drop in performance could happen during such a short break.
But I’m not giving up. I’ll push through it. I have to. There has to be a change for the better waiting for me to seize it, but I’m not going to seize it if I won’t train.