I have been training for my 5K I have at the beginning of November for a couple of months now. There has always been this goal to be able to run the 3.1 miles without stopping. I never expected to be able to do that at an actual race, but during my training, it is something I have come to expect. My reasoning is that I have done it before, so why couldn’t I do it again? Gotta build up that endurance, especially since my next goal is to run a 10K and then a half marathon and then a marathon.
Although I can run the 3.1 without stopping, I never feel quite satisfied when I am done. My current 5K time is about 42 minutes, and compared to last year being about 50-55 minutes, I will definitely take it. I have ran it at one consistent speed [for me, 4.5 mph (about 13:20 to finish a mile) is a pace that is definitely not easy but it is not insane either] and I always feel so drained at the end. I have to really push myself to go forward when I am really just running on fumes. Probably not the best strategy.
So, I have had to learn to put my ego aside, and I tried something the other day when I ran: I took three short walking breaks. I limited the breaks to no more than 60 seconds, and then I would start back up again. I actually finished my distance in 41:30! By taking the time to slow down and catch my breath, not only did I not feel like I was completely drained by the end, I finished it 30 seconds faster, and when you are running, 30 seconds can feel like an eternity. If you worried about the competitiveness of your run time, 30 seconds can make or break you. In a way, taking a moment to slow down kind of helped me go further in the symbolic sense in that I finished my run quicker than I had been, and I think applying this reminder can help me go further in other areas of my life, too.
It was a reminder of what I have already known but fail to do often: taking a moment to slow down or rest when necessary. Whether it is in regards to running, your job, your schooling, your family or friends–when you are going full blast all the time, eventually your mind, body, and/or soul is going to give out. I believe in the mind-body-soul connection, so once one of those things go out, it is going to affect the others. If your mind isn’t right and you’re struggling with depression, it can manifest into physical aches and pains. If your spirit isn’t right and you’re struggling with your purpose or questioning God or whoever your higher power is, it can negatively impact your mind, which in turn can turn into physical issues. It is all connected, and I am the type to run myself down to where I either have a break down of some sort or I become physically ill.
I am a passionate person, and I believe in doing anything with passion and to the best of your ability or just not bothering with it at all, and this very extreme thinking (Black-and-White Thinking, as I have written about in the past) can get me into trouble sometimes. I also admit that I often fail to set appropriate boundaries, and I am a giver by nature. I will give and give and give, not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to and I feel it is the right thing to do. It is part of my personality. However, I often fail to think about the other end of the equation: What about taking the time to rest and refuel so you can continue to give? When I was a medical social worker, I often heard, “You can’t give from an empty cup.” I understand that more now as a self-proclaimed social worker retiree than when I did working as a social worker.
So, here it is, raining on an October Sunday morning, and I am sitting outside on our deck with a soothing cup of coffee. I get to listen to the rain hit on the metal roof, and I feel so peaceful and rested so I can get back to my routine next week. I feel I can tackle the week coming up and get done everything that needs to be done, and it is not overwhelming to me. I am trying to embrace the idea that while there is nothing wrong with doing my best and doing it with passion, there is also a boundary that needs to be put into place: what I do today is and will be enough.