5Ks make me nervous. I over-think them. I over-run them. I typically avoid doing them, and I definitely don’t do enough of them. I haven’t raced a 5K in over a year, that is, until this morning.
My greatest, self-imposed, athletic disadvantage is that I don’t race enough. The workout warrior, my comfort zone is found in setting personal records on the treadmill by myself rather than against others, be it that I’m afraid to fail in front of others, or perhaps I like the open-ended option that I can take it easy if I want. When my boyfriend Brandon, a relatively new runner to the running scene, signed up for a 5k and then had to convince me into joining him to do it, I knew that I had gotten away from believing in the 5K run, and I forced myself to want to race it. You see, sometimes we need gentle reminders to believe in something we forgot that we love.
The things that we tend to purposefully avoid are typically the things that we need most. For me, racing 5Ks falls into this category. If you avoid the things that you are capable of doing for long enough, your confidence depreciates and the stigma of what you are avoiding only intensifies. I had needed to break 20:00 in my 5K for over a year, and the last time I raced I was so close that it was disappointing enough that I stopped racing 5Ks in order for me stop trying to break the barrier. I didn’t quit, rather, I just put it off out of fear that I would put in more effort than I would get back in return. Nike knows something that I didn’t yet know a year ago, and Nike is right: running never takes more than it gives back, but, first, we must believe in the run.
This morning I crossed the finish line in a 19:19. Second female overall, earning a cash prize of $150. This morning running gave back to me much more than I gave to it.
Whatever it is that thing that you are avoiding, bite the bullet. Even if you bite it with reluctance and some doubt, you might be surprised at what you get back for conquering your lack of belief. As for me and 5Ks, I still don’t love them, but I will start believing in them more. Most importantly, I believe in the run and I now believe that I am a runner.