The race was a fundraiser for The Haven, a shelter for abused and neglected children. It was definitely for a good cause and was reflected by the number of runners who were already at the venue. This race was also different because the men ran at 7:30 am and the women started at 8:15 am. I thought this was very interesting and a first one for me. When I got there, all the men had already gone through the finish line. Since I decided to run at the last minute, I didn't go with anyone I knew. When I got there, I didn't know anyone either. It seemed that those who were there all knew each other! I just stood on one side and waited for the lady in the blow horn to signal "GO". I decided to check out the new headphones that I just unpacked from its case. Big mistake! The earplugs didn't fit my ears and it kept falling off! The price I pay for getting it on clearance and not checking it out before using it in a run!
The temperature had gone up to about 52 degrees by the time we crossed "Start". I've run in this venue before. At each of the other runs the route always included a run up the bridge. This race didn't. Instead it just looped around Downtown Melbourne twice. Score one for me! I decided that this will be the race that I will probably break 30 minutes! So off I went. A few yards into the run, I realized that I couldn't feel my feet hit the pavement! I started to feel panicky. Maybe that's a good thing so I can actually run faster, I thought. That was the strangest thing ever. I still don't have an explanation to it but eventually I started feeling them again.
I thought I was doing really well especially when I passed Mile 1 and the clock had my pace at 10:25! I have never run a mile at this pace. Momentarily, I thought, this is great! However, this is where the run unraveled for me. This happens at every 5k race I have ever run. You see, my left (or is it the right) brain tells me "keep going" but the other side, and the more forceful side would say "that's a fast pace, you can slow down now"! And that is exactly the remainder of this story. A few yards after this mile marker, I decided to stop and walk. Not because I was out of breath, nor because my legs were tired, but I just decided to stop and walk! It's like I just hit a wall. A wall running a 5K? Really now, seriously? And when I start walking I lose all momentum. I slow down even more and finishes at a time that I always feel should have been better. I finished at 35:43.
It is true that running is not just a physical sport, it is mental as well. When I ran my first 5K last year, I could hardly finish a mile without walking. I have now surpassed that hurdle and can run 5Ks nonstop during my practice runs. However, I have not overcome the hold that my brain has over my body's will to keep running in races. Why is it so difficult to win over this?
Do you have any suggestions on what this runner should do?