Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Corporate Challenge

I knew I was setting myself up for a bad race day. I had a very solid feeling down in the pit of my stomach that Thursday's race was not going to be anywhere near my best run. I was pretty sure I would feel like crap for most of it. Let me summarize why:

My sleep was off.

I planned to go in to work late, but then I also overslept so my whole work day was thrown off.

I was nervous and anxious all day.

I was going to start running three hours later than I was used too.

Just...nothing felt right. I felt okay...I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel right.

And apparently I run great in those circumstances!

I will back up now and explain:

So the Corporate Challenge takes place in several cities around the country on different days. The Chicago event that my company participated in was this past Thursday - and apparently it was the single largest event that will be held! It turns out New York has two consecutive days for their event, which is why it's not larger.

I mentioned earlier that I was going to be flying solo this time...but it turns out I didn't have to, which ended up being a really good thing because it served as motivation in the end! I found out that my friend Travis (who works on my floor) was going, and he was planning on running way slower than he normally does because he'd had a very persistent headache the last few days. So I told him I normally run at an 11:00 min/mile pace, and he said that sounded good. Of course, with the adrenaline of the crowd and the whole race atmosphere, we ended up going a bit faster.

And then...I ran the entire race, which my Garmin clocked at 3.69 miles, which was .2 miles longer than the stated course (3.5 miles). Given that I have never run for more than 2 miles without walking, I am so super proud of that.

You see, on the way to the race I felt pretty good, and I was determined to run at least the first two miles without stopping. Then I started thinking, 'Well, I could probably run which case I might as well just run the whole thing.' And then Travis suggested we run together, and I couldn't be seen a a wimp, so my ego solidified that, unless we got separated, I would run the whole thing.

Hah. Easier said than done! But honestly, I felt pretty good for the whole run, apart from the stitch in my right side that I've had trouble with lately. Once I settled into my stride and got used to dodging and weaving through all the people on the course I felt like I could do it. I stopped thinking about taking a walk break and just pushed myself through it, and by 2.5 miles in I realized that because I'd been running so much faster with Travis, that I was probably going to PR a 5k...and that thought gave me the motivation I needed to finish out the race!

Now, I didn't realize it at the time, but during the Cinco de Miler Cam and I PR'd our 5k time at 33:34, which was a huge improvement on my time from the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5k in January (which, as a reminder, I ran inside on a treadmill in 36:24!):

CdM was also our longest distance run!

And then on Thursday, I killed that PR! So for the second time in less than three weeks I PR'd a 5k, and I rang this one in at 31:40.8!!!!!!!!! I beat my last 5k time by almost TWO MINUTES!

It's pretty cool and fulfilling to see that, and I'm hopeful that at some point this summer I will be able to achieve a sub-30 5k time!

Here are my splits for the rest of the race:

Obviously this shows that I need to work on pacing, but it was honestly very hard to stay consistent during this race because there were so many people, and they were doing weird (and incosiderate) things like stopping to walk in big groups in the middle of the track, and we had to figure out how to wind through or around the groups.

Anyway, my official race time was 37:34, and I am more than happy with that. Here I am at the end of the race, looking proud as a peach, and ready for some food!

I gotta say, I'm glad I was wrong. I'm glad I had a great race day, that I PR'd, and that I met a few new people from work. The Challenge was a great experience overall, even if I did have to shake things up with my work schedule to make sure I got enough sleep and everything. I was really happy to be able to go in to work the next day (even if I did have to go in early...blahhh) and say that I had a good race and did well.

And you know what? Even though yesterday was not the best work day (I was tired from going to bed late and getting up early, and I encountered some major last minute frustration during the day), the happy and proud feeling lingered through all of it.

It even served as a reminder that I am more than the things that happen during the day, or the forces that act on me from outside. I am my experiences, my challenges, and my efforts.

And that was the thought that pushed me through my frustrations with yesterday and helped me end my day with a smile.

With that...I hope you have a great weekend!


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