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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Believe in yourself

This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of running my first 5K. And that first 5K was a wonderful and challenging experience. I had never quite run 3.1 miles before the race, but I had been building myself up using the C25K app. I was fairly confident I could run the full distance, but I still was unsure about how it would go. Based on my training runs, I told my family to watch for me at about 45 minutes. And then I surprised myself and set a personal record (PR) running the entire race in 39:44 minutes (a 12:49 min/mile). And as I wrote about it last year, it was pretty magical.

So to mark the anniversary, I ran a 5K in the Whole Foods Running School Family Fun Run. And it was just as wonderful and challenging as my first. As usual, I was fortunate to have my incredibly supportive family with me, but I also had two friends running the 5K with me, as well as others running the 10K and the half marathon. But, for me, Sunday's race was about celebrating my 5K.

As my friends and I stood at the starting line, they talked about their race goals, one wishing to run it faster than 30 minutes and the other hoping to run faster than a 10:30 min/mile (and it was her first 5K!). I listened and I thought, "that's nice." I was just hoping to run it faster than 35 minutes (maybe an 11 min/mile), based on my current runs. I knew there was a chance I would run faster because of the excitement at a race, but I wasn't going to count on it.

And then we started and I completely surprised myself. I felt strong, so I ran fast and hard. After one mile, my iPhone app told me I was averaging a 9:30 min/mile, absolutely a PR for me! And so I pushed myself to continue and I managed to come in under 30 minutes (29:12 for a 9:25 min/mile)!!! In fact, we all achieved our goals! I celebrated and cherished my accomplishment, but I was also stunned at how much I had underestimated my abilities.

Once again, my running had taught me a life lesson--I need to have more faith in myself. I need to believe in me and my abilities. I have been training for my very first marathon since April (another story I promise to share). So I am not the same runner, or the same person, that ran that first 5K last year. I should recognize that and not be afraid to expect more from myself. I can set higher goals, even if I am afraid. I'll never know what's possible if I don't dare to reach higher!

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