There is a 5K run/walk in Reno in August. I clicked through to the website and took a look at the race results from last year, thinking that this would give me something to strive for. Some idea of how fast I need to be able to walk 3.2 miles before I enter a race.
And then I realized that if I were to run in that race today, I would come in almost 10 minutes behind the last place finishers.
That gave me pause, I’m not going to lie.
I walked 2 miles today–and the good news is that it didn’t hurt. My shins didn’t turn to molten lava, even though I did one interval at 3.2 with about 90 seconds at 3.5 (which is a slow jog for me.) And that was all kinds of awesome. But it still took me 45 minutes. And I’ve found myself wondering all day if I’m brave enough to enter a race knowing that I will most likely not be able to keep up. That everyone will pull away and I’ll be left alone.
Am I brave enough to be the deathfat girl straggling in 10 minutes after the rest of the stragglers?
I don’t care about winning or placing or whatever. But can I do this, emotionally, psychologically, if I might be not only last–but way to the last?
Maybe racing with other people would push me faster, and I wouldn’t come in dead last after all.
Maybe if I wait until next summer, I’ll be able to finish a 5K in less than an hour.
Then I took a deep breath and looked at the results again. The oldest person in the race was 81. He ran the 5K with a 5.50 minute mile pace. (2.9 mph is something like a 21-minute mile.) That lifted some kind of anxiety that I wasn’t even aware of.
I might be last in my first race. Really, really last. But I’m not competing against anyone but myself. A 5K at a 2.9 mph pace is what I can do right now. Maybe I can get up to 3.0 or even 3.2 mph by August. Maybe not. But with 42 years of experience as a defiant athlete, my 81-year-old self is going to kick some ass.