In just about a week, I will start training for the Chicago Marathon. I am equal parts excited and terrified. To make this journey a true adventure, and to maintain my love for the sport, I decided to run at least one race every month this year. I ran the Frigid 5K in January—and I've completed four more races since then. Each one of them taught me a valuable lesson.
Ice Fest 5K
Conditions were not ideal for this local 5K. February in Michigan is a solid guarantee for snow coverage on the ground. A bulk of the course was clear as can be, with a small portion of it covered completely in snow.
Conditions were not ideal for this local 5K. In February in Michigan, you are almost always guaranteed two things: Cold temps and snow-covered streets and sidewalks. We got both. I can deal with the cold, but snow and ice on streets and sidewalks...ugh. The route for this race saw plenty of clear streets and sidewalks, but a portion of the path was almost completely covered in snow. To make matters worse, it was snow sucked your feet down into it. Hard to run through, for sure.
Here's what happened: Ahead of that snow-covered section, I was trailing the lead female by seconds. I had an opportunity to pass her, but held back thinking it was too early to surge forward.
I should have surged forward. Had I done that, I might have been able to keep her behind me. But I hit the snow-covered section and lost a passable distance. Ultimately, she finished ahead of me.
Lesson learned: Don't hold back. If you get the opportunity to make a move...if you feel ready to make that move...do it. Surge forward and see where it takes you. (Life lesson as well, perhaps?)
St. Pat's Day 5K
With one surging ahead of me and the other staying close behind, I knew I had to run a really smart race. I kept tabs on the girl behind me and set my sights on the girl ahead of me. I slowly increased my speed, reserving as much energy as I could for that surge I knew I'd need. This allowed me to create some distance between myself and the girl behind me, while shortening the space between myself and the girl ahead of me. When that space became nothing more than a step or two, I made my move.
Lesson learned: Run smart, not fast. Fast will be smart when the time is right. Practice patience, and you'll find that time.
Shamrock Shuffle 8K
When my clients tell me an exercise felt especially hard, I tell them it's because they can handle it and they're pushing themselves to new levels of strength. I remembered that as I was running this race.
Lesson learned: Trust your training and embrace the suck. Don't shy away from the burn. Embrace it because you can. And you will.
Sarett Spring Stampede
Lesson learned: We all have our strengths and weaknesses. My weaknesses are trails. But it's our weaknesses that present the greatest challenges, and taking on those challenges makes us better runners. Work on your weaknesses, don't shy away from them.
Another local 5K in May.
But first, just one week until I kick off marathon training. I am so excited for the Chicago Marathon. Nervous, but excited. Every step I take will be for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. If you feel it in your heart to help me find a cure for cystic fibrosis, I would be forever grateful for your donation.