Friday, May 31, 2013

Fitness Fridays - Run for a Reason 12km race and thoughts on 'failure'

Pre-race

As you might have noted, last Sunday I ran a 12km fun run before setting into pikelet eating. I ran the same race, known as Run for a Reasonlast year, but the course was changed in 2013 to reduce it from 14km to  12km. It's only the fourth year the event has been run, and last year was quite poorly organised. This year the start and finish locations were moved, and the organisation was much better.

It's a bit difficult for me to sum this race up. For a start, it is only the fourth organised running event I've participated in. I have inserted a table below that shows the events I've run over the years. The more important issue, though, is that this is the first race where I haven't reached the goal I set for myself. I wanted to finish in under 1 hour 5 minutes. My race time was 1 hour 5 minutes and 50 seconds.



Realistically, I know it is silly to be upset at my time being 1 minute longer than I wanted it to be. Emotionally, I think I'm just as upset by the 1 minute as I would have been by 5 minutes. I have spent the whole week criticising myself, and viewing myself as a complete running failure for not getting the result I wanted. This was so intense that I actually thought about skipping my running club group yesterday morning because I was so ashamed of my performance (I started the run with some of my group members but didn't catch up with anyone at the end).

In short, my self-critical streak has been given an opportunity to flare up, and it has been doing just that.

Heading towards the finish line - I'm in the pink t-shirt approaching the finish in the left of the  image.

Ironically, outside of the time issue, it wasn't a bad run. I can't pick any point where I think I should have run faster, or done anything specific differently. I ran the first two kilometers at a 5 minute / kilometer pace, but I have come to accept that I'm vulnerable to starting races a little quicker than I aim to and that speed wasn't unrealistic for me to go out with. I kept a fairly steady pace through the remainder of the run. Somehow, I just didn't have enough in me to run at the level I wanted to. It was a tough run, and I felt like I gave it everything I could, and I just wasn't at my best running-wise. The last kilometer was brutal. Basically, I needed to run each kilometer a few seconds quicker than I was able to, and I couldn't.

Part of my frustration is that the week before the race, I ran 12km in 1 hour 4 minutes 40 seconds, so I knew I could do it. The course is flat, the atmosphere was great, and I should have been able to pull it together on the day. Some others in my running group got personal best times. I just don't feel like I did a good job. Failing to reach my goals isn't something that I'm good at coping with.


One plus to this run is that I got to start in running Group A. This largely reflects the organising of the event - they made the fastest start group include people who expected to finish in anything up to 70 minutes. That's a fairly generous cut-point for 12km, but it did feel good to have the purple 'A' group on my race bib.

According to the race results, I did also finish above average. My time places me around the top 13% for females (1130 / 8736 runners) and the top 27% overall (4003 / 14820), although that does include people in the slowest group who walked and pushed prams. I can't help adding that running at 1 hour 4 minutes would have put me in the top 10% of female runners, and well within the top 25% overall, which would have been much better. Still, I can see that my definition of 'failure' doesn't necessarily mean outright poor performance.


The other plus is that I am really motivated to improve my speed now. I want to run another half marathon at the start of August, and I am setting my sights on doing that in under 2 hours. I want to get faster and stronger and not have another week feeling the way I've felt this week!

Last and not least - being so caught up on 50 seconds (I mean, really!) has taught me I need to keep practicing taking a step back from my own insecurities and anxieties and definitions of 'success'. There is a bigger picture, even if I can't always see it.

What are you like with falling short of your goals? Have you had any similar experiences with running / sporting achievements?

19 comments:

  1. I find goals in sports to be quite subjective, especially with distance. Wind, weather, breaks, traffic, etc, all play into things - especially when you are stressing over 50 seconds! Granted, you are way beyond my league. I exercise for fun and just want to arrive alive... but my goals are more like 100km. I actually have not biked over 30km yet this year but will try 100km this weekend. I hope I don't die. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you say "you are well beyond my league" and then in the next sentence "my goals are more like 100km" :p That's an amazing goal!

      Delete
  2. Goodness I am impressed at your running the race so while I can see that it is frustrating not to achieve what you feel you can, I also think you should pat yourself on the back for doing it. And maybe it is healthy to see your fitness as not always linear where you just run faster and faster but that you can go in circles or 10 steps forward and one step back. Maybe you need to factor in the mystery element in each run too. (Sylvia would name it the running fairies)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The concept of non-linear progress is a great one - and makes perfect sense. Thank you :-) The notion of running fairies appeals too!

      Delete
  3. Wow! That's still really awesome, Kari. I'm sure there were other factors outside of your control affecting you that you didn't even realize were there. I've never even run a 12K, let alone finished one in an hour, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds. In fact, I just started going back to the gym again...(namely to get rid of frustrations caused by Bar study), and my trips to the gym typically only include a short 20 to 30 minute run on the treadmill or elliptical. Haha. You have a lot to be proud of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Colynn, and you're right, I think I can control more aspects of running (and life!) than I can. I am glad to have run it at all and at the end of the day that has to be the main thing.

      Delete
  4. I cannot believe you are berating yourself for one minute. I'd find it tough to run to the end of the street - see how far ahead you are? :) I admire you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think that you did awesome!!!! For only your 4th race you knocked it out of the ball park. I know that you didn't hit your goal time, but you also weren't that far off. I am usually off by a lot more than 50 seconds. Keep it up, you are doing awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Now don't be so hard on yourself! Congratulations on even entering. And congratulations on even being in a running group. And thank you so much for how you encouraged me in my first running attempt. It meant a lot to me. I'll look forward to hearing how you go in your future events and I don't need the times - I'm impressed enough with you just entering the events xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely comment Charlie - thank you! And you're most welcome re. the running club encouragement, I do understand the anxiety they can provoke!

      Delete
  7. Oh my goodness.... WELL DONE - the fact that you can run 12km is amazing in itself (I doubt I could run 1km!) I struggle with being WAY too self critical too, so I can see how 50 seconds would drive you mad..... try and be kinder to yourself though - I reckon you did amazingly :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Self criticism is a monster isn't it? And thank you :)

      Delete
  8. Congrats on completing the run - I could not imagine running that far.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ok... it is time to stop wit the negatives and give yourself a big pat on the back... there are plenty of people that will pull you down in life... you don't need to be one of them! YOU DID GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right - I am definitely my worst promoter at times! Thanks for the reminder.

      Delete
  10. Congratulations! I've found with running you can have good days and bad days (and I've run a marathon - luckily on a good day!) You can't beat yourself up about it as sometimes it is all how you feel. Well done 12km is awesome.

    ReplyDelete

I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bitesizedthoughts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bitesizethought).