This morning I woke up way too early in the much too cold (oh how my blood has thinned since I moved from Massachusetts to Georgia - it's embarrassing!) to run my second "official" 5K.
I mean, I ran a 5K on Wednesday and hit a personal best, but I was all by myself so apparently that doesn't count.
Today's 5K will probably be my last race for some time. It cemented that I simply do not like racing against anyone but myself. It wasn't a fluke - I still don't like the crowds, the jockeying for position, the unknown route (yes, yes, I could have gone before the race and learned the route - for various reasons, that wasn't feasible either this time or last time). I also don't like feeling competitive in a situation in which I am simply not a competitor (yet) - racing brings out my "I am not good enough" feelings for a minute, before I realize that I have been running for a mere 11 weeks - and nine of those were the Couch to 5K program. I have only been running three miles at a time for about three weeks, and I still can't even run that without walking (but never stopping and always walking as fast as I possibly can when I take a break for about 10 seconds at a time).
That said, and despite the fact that today's race was on an uphill incline for much of it, so I walked, I still hit my best time ever. Did I win or place? Nope. Did people I know beat me handily? Yup. Did I run a 9:21 mile? Heck yes. Did I run a 5K in less than 30 minutes? 29:10.
I am doing this for exercise - to improve my body inside and out. My next goal is to run 12 miles a week for a while. At the moment I'm at 10. I'll do 10 for another week (or more, if I feel like it). Then 11. Then 12. I don't actually want to run a 10K or a half-marathon or a marathon. I don't want to run for that distance or that length of time. But I do want to be able to run as fast as I can for three miles. I would love to run an 8 minute mile. I think I might be able to do that sometime, if I stick to this.
But I also want to mix it up. This summer is going to be hot and I probably will switch to DVDs and indoor activities for a while (and playing at the pool). I am a runner, I feel strong, I feel proud - but I don't think my goals are the same as most runners.
Then again, I might get annoyed enough to train for a marathon, just to prove the haters wrong. I've done that before...
I started uploading one picture a day to 365project.org/marlatiara - usually one that I also upload to Instagram. There's no real reason why I'm doing both, except that I am. Feel free to look.