This past weekend I ran in my second 5K of the season. It was a local race so my family (wife and two kids) came to watch me and a couple of friends run. Pre-race I felt pretty good. I scheduled this race as part of my “pre-season” before I begin my half-marathon training this spring. However, my finish ended up as a disappointment. Here is what happened.

At about halfway into the run (1.5 miles) I began to feel my right knee start to swell. I will admit that I played ice hockey earlier that morning, so that the knee pain (which I do occasionally get) was probably due to overuse. A little over 2 miles into the race the pain started to become a nuisance. Although I knew structurally there was nothing wrong with my knee, mentally I could not get the pain out of my mind nor could I recapture my running rhythm.  Rather than push through the pain, I throttled it back, walked a couple of short walks and finished with a slower time of 30:20, about a minute off my planned finish.

Remembering why I was running

Was I frustrated with my finishing time and that I had to walk a couple of times? Sure I was. It was a 5K, a distance I have been running for years. But then I remembered a couple of things about this race.

First, I scheduled this race as part of my “pre-season” runs, a series of 5K runs in February, March and April to get me prepped to increase my mileage to 10K’s and half-marathon training. This was only my second race of the year, the first being a fun run on New Years Day. I wasn’t going for a personal best, I was training.

Second, my family was there to watch me. I wanted to do well but my children didn’t care about when I finished. All I remembered was my daughter and son screaming, “Go Dad” repeatedly as I approached and crossed the finish line.

I realized that I was a better runner for throttling back rather than work through the pain. My reasons for running this past weekend became clearer to me;

·         To prepare myself to take on the challenge of a half-marathon later this year

·         To be a role model of a healthy lifestyle and exercise for my children

As runners, we log a lot of miles, and we can’t expect every run to go as planned. It’s when a run doesn’t go as planned that we need to suck it up and remember why we run.

Happy Running!

Chris Lindley
7/3/2012 12:35:19 am

I just came across this and thought it was ironic as I was telling myself the same thing today. If I have to walk a short distance tonight @ the Finish @ the 50 then it would still be a good example for my kids and for my own motavation. Heck 3 months ago I was getting ready for my 1st 10k. 2 months ago I thought I was not going to run at all with my bad knee. Now I'm ready to do the 5k and finish no matter the time.
As you said, not every race has to be a personal best. Thanks for all your advice and help.


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