Sunday, December 14, 2008

Racing Without Expectations...

Sometimes, we have to get outside of our comfort zone. Even though we may not feel entirely prepared for something, it can be good for us to 'just do it' in the infamous words of Nike (and so profound) and force ourselves to throw expectations out the window.

I decided a few days ago to do the Jingle Bell 5k this morning. I did this 2 years ago and won it, getting this kick-ass gift basket packed with fun things like fancy sauces, olive oil and a gift certificate for Run Tex to be outfitted head-to-toe! I think I pulled off a 17:30 or something. I am not sure where it came from, as I was far from it today...but, back to my story. I knew it was 'just 3-miles' so I could get through it, and I have been running semi-consistently lately. I am about to go to Indiana for 2 weeks to spend time hanging out at my parents cabin, enjoying the cold, seeing family and doing some nice mellow runs. So, why not go out and hurt myself for 3-miles today? And for a good cause nonetheless, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) sponsors the event.

I headed out there early this morning, solo, as Derick had to go to Houston for work. I ran into a few 'running friends' I had not seen in awhile, which was fun, and saw more dogs in a race than ever before! All dressed up as reindeers and such. I felt mediocre warming up, and just figured if I did something 'slow' like 18-flat, so be it. Oh boy was I in for a surprise!

I saw a good friend Chris Kimbrough right at the start line, who is just flat out speedy. I laughed to myself, thinking "I hope she does not school me too much..." We took off and my first mile was about 5:51. Not bad, but it felt more like a 5:40...meaning, it kind of hurt. So be it! Damn the goals, Kelly! I continued on, a small ways behind the 2nd place woman (Cassie Heinkel, also a pretty speedy Austin-ite) and came through mile 2 at 11:52ish... 6-min for second mile. Wow, this is my 1/2 marathon pace! Awesome! (insert sarcasm here).... We had a slight downhill towards mile 3 and heading back towards the finish, but holy shit did it hurt! It was a particularly humid December morning which made it even tougher, but I pushed on to a painful 18:30, which if I were feeling motivated could have been an 18:25 but I just kind of strolled those last 100 yards... OUCH! What was I thinking, "18-min would be acceptable"? After this, I think I'd change that to 'impossible'!

So...bottom line is I went out there and did it. I enjoyed myself, and I think that it is so good to occassionally go out to compete knowing we may not 'all be there' today. It is like putting your pride right on the line. And walking away saying "Well, if that's the best you've got today, it's the best you've got. So be it."

Big Picture? I am fully aware that an 18:30-5k is a very respectable time. But I seemed to rip of these mid-17's a year ago...from where?! I do not know...but I am glad I went out and participated. It hurt and today, it was the best in me! It was also so great to see a few runner-friends that I had not seen in quite some time. I met Cassie, whom I have heard a lot about in Austin but had yet to meet...a very cool girl. I also saw many kids, parents and dogs all out there running 3.1! Way to go everyone, and especially to Tim, Peggy, Colleen and Kristin Pletcher...the whole family was out there running, even Comet the dog! It was great to see all of the smiling people, along with the spirit of Christmas (despite the 70-degree humid conditions) out there having fun and being active. Yet another reason, Austin is one very cool town.

Thank you for reading, and take-home lesson is, just get out there and compete...let the results fall where they may! It is healthy on occassion... for all of us!