Flukes and Other Things

Last weekend, I finished out my summer racing at the pier house 5k in Long Branch, NJ. This was the 5th and final race of the Jersey Shore Grand Prix.

Since I had been feeling pretty fatigued running-wise and struggling to string together consistent training over the last few weeks, I was unsure about how this race was going to go. I didn’t have a time goal in mind, but I was aiming to place in the top five.

I found myself in the lead within the first couple hundred meters. I managed to stay in first place by a thin margin for the entirety of the race. It was an out-and-back along the hot and windy boardwalk. Luckily, there was a pack of about five of us to work together and chase fast times. I crossed in 18:03, just four seconds ahead of 2nd place. 3rd and 4th places ran 18:11 and 18:19, respectively. The fact that competition was strong made for an exciting race, for sure.

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I was happy to come away with the win, but even happier to run an encouraging time. My fastest 5k prior to Monday was an 18:26 that I ran en route to a 6k during cross country almost 2 years ago.  I’ve struggled to “own” this pr; it was a fluke, in my mind.

For one, it wasn’t “official” and additionally, I’ve been stuck in the 18:50-19:20 range since then.

I’m still having trouble accepting this time. I don’t feel as though I’m in 18:03 shape; so this, too, must be a fluke. However, the thing about running is that results are difficult to argue with – they are simply the time in which a certain distance was covered; hardly room for dispute.

In a way, refusing to accept ownership of my time(s) absolves me of responsibility. If I don’t acknowledge that I’m an 18 flat runner, I have the room to be less accountable in my training. In addition, it diminishes the inevitable fear that accompanies running personal bests – knowing that I’m going to have to train to run even faster. This is not the mindset that I’d like to be in. With that said, I’m owning the 18:03 and training to see 17:xx on the clock.

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