This is a post about lessons learned when you are not looking to learn a darn thing. It can apply to runners, walkers, anyone really who has ever felt “I’m not ready for this” or “How did I get myself into this mess?”
About a month ago, I ran the Across the Bay 10k. If you’re not in the Delaware/Maryland/Virginia area and aren’t familiar with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it’s the iconic bridge that connects Maryland’s Eastern Shore to the Western Shore. It has two spans of 4.3 miles. Everyone who lives where I live drives over this bridge to head for their vacations to Ocean City or other towns along the shore. It’s a big bridge. Quite scary. But also quite beautiful.
About a year ago, I somehow managed to win myself a free entry into this inaugural 10k. By that time I had run one 10k before, one half marathon and countless 5ks. Note that when I say “run”, I really mean run/walk because I’m a run/walker (and proud of it!). The race folks sent me a confirmation the size of a business card notifying me of my free entry. I promptly put it into my wallet where I forgot about it for almost a year.
Fast forward to September and October. I knew the race was on the horizon, just due to buzz I’d seen on Facebook, but I had never not jotted down the date. I didn’t pay attention to the calendar. When a friend told me it was coming up in about 2 weeks, the panic set in. I had thought it was at the end of November, not the beginning. Wrong! At this point, I had not been running at all, although I walked 2-3 miles almost daily. I was in a running funk. The night before the race, I really thought about skipping it all together. I knew I wouldn’t be out any money. I knew also that my friend had another friend joining her, so she wouldn’t be going it alone if I backed out. But I had never skipped a race before. I didn’t like the thought of that. Plus I wanted to be able to say that I made it across the bridge, and to see what the view was like from up there. I went, I finished and am glad I did not back out.
Here’s what I learned about not training for a race:
- Showing up is half the battle.
- Not every race has to be about going for the PR. You CAN have fun and enjoy the experience.
- Just like with any race or event you’ve signed up for, you will find that you are capable of a pushing yourself harder than you originally thought.
- Feeling unprepared for one race can fuel your desire to prepare for your next race. I’m already mapping out my race calendar for 2015 and know that at last two 10ks will be included. And I’ve actually been back out on the pavement since crossing the bridge race finish.
- That high you love to feel as you cross the finish line? It will be there, strong as ever.
How about you? Have you ever done a race cold turkey? What did you learn from that? Have you ever not shown up to a race you had registered for (Or any event for that matter?). We’d love to hear from you in the comments. See you at the finish!
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