In my first year and a half of running, I tailored my training around stepping up my race distances: 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K, 10M, half marathon and 30K. The next year I focused most of my efforts on 10K races and a fall half marathon and managed to get a PB in each. Heading into this year my only race requirement was that the distance wasn't further than a half marathon due to the amount of time required for training and risk of injury. I signed up for two spring half marathons, Chilly and Mississauga. Looking back on those races I can't help but remember the struggles I had during each. Yes, I'm still looking forward returning to the half marathon course I know and love at STWM this fall--but I've started wondering if maybe those longer race struggles are telling me something.
When I ask myself which races I am most proud of--the answer would be my 10K at Toronto Yonge Street in 2015, and the Achilles 5K this spring. Why do these stand out? They were painful. But the pain was different than the pain I feel when I start to fade on a half marathon course. In both of these races I'd pushed incredibly hard leaving no doubt that I could have run any harder. I held on for as long as I possibly could. I felt confident. And when I crossed those finish lines I was doubtful that I'd ever be able to better those times. That was a pretty good feeling.
Over the past couple months I've been comparing the feelings and results of my longer vs shorter race distances. While so many of my running friends are adding marathons and ultras to their calendars, I've suddenly got speed and short distances stuck in my brain. A few weeks ago the winter dome was removed from my local track. I was literally overjoyed to return, even know I knew the pain those laps would induce. I sent Michelle a message after my workout, telling her I'd just run my fastest 400 meter rep ever. She was impressed. So was I!
So I learn, I evolve. Maybe focusing on shorter distances that result in better times and feelings of pride are better for my confidence as a runner--at least for now. There's something empowering in going for it and finishing knowing I've given everything I can.