I ran with one of the fastest women in our running group this morning and now I’m exhausted. Let me clarify. I wasn’t really running “with” her as much as she was running slower, so I could run faster. We started the run at 5:00 am and it was my intention to run 5 miles. I started off at a pretty good pace and I heard her coming up behind me. I moved over to the right, so she could pass me on the left. She wouldn’t pass me though. It wasn’t because she couldn’t it was because she knew (and told me) that if she passed me than I would go into “relaxed mode” and slow down. She was right. So, I kept running and I mean I was running.
I finished the first mile in 9’33”. I felt myself slowing down and I heard my running partner say from behind me, “Don’t slow down now! You’re doing good!”
That was all the encouragement I needed. I finished mile 2 with an average pace of 8’55”. At mile 3, she was running beside me and asked how I was doing and I (seriously) wanted to punch her. I was breathing heavy and everything in me wanted to stop but I kept going. By the time we got to mile 4, she passed me, and she told me later that she knew I would either stop or I would try to finish strong. I had finished the 5th mile in 47 minutes and the rest of the group was still out there – we have 60 minutes to finish the group run. I could have stopped and gone to my car, gotten out my water bottle and recovered while everyone else was finishing. No one would have judged me and come on, 5 miles in 47 minutes is something to be proud of. But something inside me said, "keep going". So, what did I do? I kept going. I was able to fit in one more mile and finished the run in 58:51.
I felt absolutely amazing at the end. It has been so long since I ran outside of my comfort zone and I feel like I should do it more often. I can’t run with today’s partner all the time because she has her own goals -- and they don’t include coaching me – so I have to learn how to coach myself. I have to take what I learned today and use it as motivation to continue and eventually get even better.
If you want to get better at something, surround yourself with people who are better than you and learn from them. -- Michele Matthews