I decided to run it. Remember, I had a goal to run a 5k under 21 minutes. Well, here was a 5k! I had not started to train to increase speed at all (or distance for that matter - I've been majorly slacking) but I am running out of 5k options and the heat is increasing, making my chances for speed even worse than they are naturally.
|The medals are crawfish...cute.|
Turns out that the race is really fun. It's hosted by the Junior League and had all kinds of post-race food and entertainment. The only problem is that 5ks are so short, who wants to eat jambalaya and have a beer at 8:30 am? Anyway, they did a great job putting the race on and a great job advertising, too. There was a big turn out, so I guess I was the only person who didn't know about it! The course is entirely in Audubon park, so it's very pretty (although you have to share the track with regular runners and walkers).
So. I ran the race. I started too far back and too slow; then I sped up and did a good job of checking my Garmin for pace, but after that I fell into pace with another runner for a mile and too late realized that he was gradually slowing (and so was I). I finished in 21:26, almost exactly my last 5k time. It was good enough for third female and first age group award, although I didn't stick around for awards.
I'm disappointed that I have not improved my 5k at all. I know you can't expect to get faster without actually doing the speedwork (duh), but I should at least be able to apply my experience from my two previous 5ks. I failed at my goal.
What I want to say about this is, it's ok to say out loud that you failed something. Failed is a "bad" word, I know.. But we can't always give ourselves a break or we'll never improve. I read a lot of articles and blogs and books that excuse failure. People declare a specific time goal, don't make it, and declare that their goal was unrealistic. Books tell you to set goals, but recommend you have A, B, and C goals. Stories end with, "I didn't finish the race, but I did run farther than I've ever run before!". Articles encourage a positive spin on a bad race: "Every finisher is a winner".
But let's face it. We're not winners all the time. We set goals because we think they're valuable to achieve. We shouldn't devalue those goals just because we didn't attain them. The goals are still valuable: WE fell short.
I failed to achieve my goal in Saturday's race. I probably failed because I didn't prepare. That means I need to work harder and try again. If I excuse this failure, and tell myself that I should be pleased with placing or content with a free bowl of jambalaya, I bet you the bank I'll never run a faster 5k. Instead I'm admitting and accepting a failure and using that failure to motivate myself to improve.
Do you find that we no longer like to admit when we fail? Am I making any sense at all? Or is this just the MSG from dinner talking?