Racing Towards Happiness

I ran my first 10k race about six months after I started running.

It was technically my first real race – as the first two events I ran would be considered more to be “fun runs” instead of actual races. If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember my first race was Colour Me Rad. My second was the Night Race – which was 5k through winding trails with a headlamp. Fun, yes. Serious racing, no.

I signed up for my first 10k the day I ran Colour Me Rad. I had a little over a month to train for it. I kept going with the running training apps – as they hadn’t failed me – this time testing out Couch to 10k (still really rad, still highly recommended).

This run was singlehandedly my personal best run. Yes, personal best – not personal record. I subscribe to the Kelly Robert’s school of PB vs PR. This 10k was my personal best run to date. A run that I put it all out there for. I loved the process of training for it. I put my heart into each step. My body was strong. My soul was fearless.

I have been chasing that feeling ever since. I remember being absolutely blown away by what my body could do during that run. I ran the first seven kilometers straight – which was a first for me. I typically run intervals – even to this date. My feet went numb shortly around the fifth kilometer turnaround, but I managed to stick it out. I walked briefly for about 2 minutes, then plowed through the rest of race, crossing the finish line smiling and strong with a 1:03:04. I never thought I could finish 10k. I never thought I could get even close to a 60 minute 10k. I surprised myself.

I have realized that I may never have that feeling running half marathons. When I run them, I’m angry and sad. When I’m training for them, I’m angry and sad. My mind hurts. My body hurts. I’ve ran three and hated the entire process for each one of them. Yes, I feel proud when finished, proud when I tell people I am training for a half marathon, but I’m consistently angry and sad about my time and my performance.

I have been thinking that I rushed into this whole racing thing. My competitive nature has decided that I need to run faster, farther – always go, go, go. But I think my body has been saying slow down, take your time, and my heart has definitely been saying find the joy, have a blast.

I may kick myself for saying this, but I think the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 will be devoted to my first loves – the 5k and 10k races. Let me find the joy of running again. Let me enjoy the process of becoming strong and speedy in these shorter distances, instead of trying to force myself into the role of a half marathoner. She may still be in there – half marathon machine Laurie – but I think she needs a bit of time to grow.

Obviously I want to beat my best times but I want to be kinder to myself if I don’t.

I want to love this again. I want to feel strong again. But most of all, I want that feeling of shock and awe at what my body can do.

 

What’s your favourite race distance? Are you happy with a speedy 5k or love cranking out the miles during a marathon? Let me know. I love hearing from you!

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