Almost five years ago I ran my first 5K. It was at a 4th of July race and I completed the race in 36:16. I still remember how hard the race was, how Megan sailed past me at the finish, and the feeling of accomplishment. I had only been running a short time and had so far lost a small amount of weight. While weight loss had been the purpose to begin running, as I look back now, I realize that this race was the beginning of something different…of a lifestyle change.
Megan is my daughter and we’ve been running together ever since that first run. Sometimes I run faster, more often now days she runs faster, and if she’s close behind in a race she’ll still pass me at the end. My husband Scott and my son Matt began running as well it is now an established family activity.
Today I’m reflecting back on that first 5K with the time of 36:16 because last night I recorded almost the same time at #BoogieNightsVentura. Officially I participated in a race but I knew that I wouldn’t actually be racing. This was because I’d raced the Mountains2Beach Marathon three days earlier. Last night’s run was to be an easy recovery effort, and not even a complete run. My coach said I could walk the first mile and then jog the second two miles…with a pace no faster than 10 minutes per mile.
With this easy effort I was tempted to leave off the bib(racing number) so as not to have an official record of this race as recovery run. But I’ve learned that running my hardest is not always the wisest course of action. Sometimes we have other goals, like hitting certain paces, or staying deliberately slow. As I’ve learned these lessons in running I’ve realized they also apply to life. That a fulfilled life is not about racing through everything. Rather a fulfilled life is a mixture of fast and slow…or better slow and fast. It’s not possible to enjoy the exciting things in life (like races) if we never slow down to regroup and rest…to recover.
So I decided to wear my bib and proudly own the slow official race time that would ensue. As the race started I saw a friend who was also recovering from the marathon. I invited her to join me and together we walked and jogged. Much to my amusement I completed the 5K in 36:01…just beating my slowest time. This time I barely broke a sweat, and that is another life lesson in how we improve ever so slowly when we are persistent.