Taking the Bull by the Horns

The Bull City Race Fest that is.

It’s a yearly race held in Durham, NC each October, with a half-marathon, a five-miler and a one-miler. I’m referring to the five-miler.  I call myself a casual runner. I  do a few 5Ks a year, and one 4 mile race. So this is my longest. This was my third time going. Last year I had an annoying Plantar’s Fasciitis and while I should have skipped it, I liked the color of the race shirt they were giving out and signed up for the one mile. The year before that, I did the five-miler. I started out with the people I went with, but I couldn’t keep up with them. Seeing them pull ahead of me and starting out too fast, made me have to slow up and walk. And once I did that, I’d run a short distance, and then listen to the voice telling me to walk again. I did that several times. So, that’s been a thorn in my side (may as well keep with the bull theme) for the past two years.

My goal was to run the whole thing with a secondary goal being under an hour. For the past few months I’ve been running outside in the morning and keeping it at an 11 min/mile pace. It’s sustainable for me. I can go faster for shorter distances. I finally did five miles on the treadmill last weekend at 5.5 miles/hour and it felt good. It’s more about the mind games for me, about having a plan on how to combat the insecurity and doubts. I worked on that while I did those morning runs.

My Achilles tendon was acting up this past week, so I wasn’t sure I was going to run, let alone run it all. I threw the hour time limit out the window – kind of – and just tried to tell myself to run slow and keep going. Limited sleep (adopted a new kitten two days ago, who’s apparently a night owl) and the balmy 45 degree weather with some wind gusts, added to the challenge. But it was paid for, I picked up the shirt and bib and they do have medical attention nearby, so I went. I went with my trainer, we also met someone else who works at the gym. My plan was to start behind them, since I knew I couldn’t keep up and watching people pass me messes with my mind.

I did it.

I ran the whole thing, came in at a respectable 52:29,  a 10:29 min pace, faster than the 11 mins I was aiming for. Also 26/74 for females 50-54. I’m very happy with it and that my Achilles held out. More importantly was the voice in my head that says “walk” didn’t say a word. There were no negative thoughts, other than being annoyed at the wind that would pop up, no thoughts of walking or that I couldn’t do it. To hit a physical goal is one thing, to beat back the negativity and self-doubt two years in the making is so much more. 

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