pacing

Yesterday was my first time running a full, formal (like as part of a race) half marathon in a long while. I have run plenty of half marathons (and marathons even) before — but this was my only my second formal “race.”

I did fine. I mean I did better than last time.

But I paced terribly. I started super fast. Like way faster than I should have. And after mile 5, the rest of the miles were terribly painful.

I think there’s perhaps a lesson here – something about not getting your pace correct up front and that leading to issues downstream.

Perhaps my overconfidence in my ability to just figure things out is what drove me to the illogical pace. Perhaps it was the fomo – I was running with the top elite crew up front. It felt good. Like I belonged. Perhaps it was just impatience. I wanted to keep going, it was cold out. Perhaps, perhaps I was just not thinking about the future. Not empathizing with my future self very much.

In hindsight, I should have paced better. I should have ran much slower in the beginning and then sprinted the way home.

But no – not me. I did not have that — maybe fairly obvious — foresight. If I did, well I would probably be in less pain right now (running on a stiff hip for that many miles is not particularly fun). I would have probably not felt as much pain during the race, too.

There are many things I learned from that race (and so much I learn from running in general, which as you can tell is a bit of a theme of many of these essays). Running is funny though because unlike other sports that I have played (like basketball or soccer) — much of what you learn comes from your body. No one is giving you feedback. It’s just you versus you, and you are seeing what works and does not work. I find that interesting. Listening to yourself. Mind body connection. Telling you how fast to run. For how long. Etc.

The other big ticket item from this race is just balancing this desire to go fast with understanding the implications of mistakes. I always seem to want to go fast. At least my instinct wants to run. But there’s a time to sprint and a time to run fast, and of course a time to walk. I have written about how it’s fascinating to me that Messi walks more than any other soccer player on the field. He’s saving his energy for what really matters, is at least one hypothesis.

Sometimes when I want to run, instead of just running faster, I should ask myself why. What is driving that impatience? Is it logical? How does it impact my other goals? Am I running towards something or away from something?

Running teaches me so much. I am grateful that I am able to run.

This was a hard race. Hard because again I messed up the pacing. I made it hard for myself. I still ran relatively fast. At least fast for me. I know I can do better. My next run – my next long run – I want to pace more effectively. I will probably try again in like a month.

Until then, though, I am more focused on weightlifting. Another mainly you versus you sport.

I was going to stop writing but I realized I still have 5 minutes left on my timer. I feel like this is an example of me trying to sprint through this topic – sprint through this essay – just to be done with it.

But instead…well instead I should just keep it going. To pace it better. Oh, the irony.

I feel like anyone could run a half marathon. Truly. I think most all people should, too. It is the type of thing that I think you would enjoy and also learn from. I think you could probably do it with little training. It may be hard – but that’s part of the point.

I am looking for more challenges to do. Both with myself and with friends. I like having a thing like that to look forward to. Maybe it’s hiking a big mountain. Or signing up to swim far. Or something like that. I find these memories to be extremely un-regrettable. And I guess I could say that I am looking for those types of things. Challenges that I overcome and will remember forever.

Life in some ways is a bit of a compilation of those. A bit of a mix of all these moments – some planned and others more serendipitous. I like having one that is planned in the background. Something to race towards and look forward to.

I heard a quote something like if you are going to not be present and think about the future, you better think about something positive otherwise what are you doing.

I mean there’s nuance to it – it was actually the announcer at the race who said this – but I liked the overall message. I think that having that thing in the background that thing you can look forward to and be excited about it is a way to keep the brain on. And your muscles on. To not let yourself gain weight or spiral in a negative direction. Catching yourself before you spiral – an essay I wrote a while back – is important. Important because those spirals may be hard to recover from. Or at least take time. At least for me.

So yes I am on the lookout for another challenge. I am on the lookout for another physical feat – maybe in Africa honestly. I could hike a big mountain. That feels like it would fit the shape. I am open to other ideas as well.

Funny how I immediately jump to that. To looking for the next thing. Hmmph.


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