1st half marathon goal - Finish without dying
2nd half marathon goal - Finish with improved time and not dying
1st full marathon goal - Finish without dying BEFORE the finish line closed
3rd half marathon goal - Finish with improved time for all prior years and close that chapter for good
All of those goals were met... Even if I had to walk, I finished, didn't die and improved my time at the 13 mile mark each year. With my final improved time, I was able to close that chapter of my fitness life and decided not to run long distance ever again... unless....
The Vegkid someday needed a running partner or my life changed that drastically that I would want to run that far ever again like maybe a bear was chasing me... Neither of those have happened. However, I also thought to myself:
"With my challenged running/jogging legs I should continue running 3 miles in case a 5K race ever came up, I would always be prepared"
Well... I didn't really do that. In fact my endurance training from last year didn't go past two miles, and I continued to learn how to run until my one mile time consistently has stayed under nine minutes (8:13 being my best try). This isn't much for some, but considering my old average was 10-12 minute miles, I was pretty excited to get under nine minutes by that much.
So my new plan was just to work on my mile and increase the pace until a mile felt "comfortable" mixed in with my CrossFit training... No 2 miles or 3 miles, no races... Then a big group at my gym decided to do a 5K. It was for a great cause and something dear to a friend, and so the race we did run! More than half of us who ran didn't train, and had no desire to complete a 5K that day but we all did.
Well I thought if I'm going to do this thing than I would put a time on my self, a goal... At the three mile mark I hit my goal and realized I wouldn't finish the 5K under that. But I DID finish 3 miles faster than I ever had, with no training and no preparedness. Only my strength and endurance from CrossFit. That felt good.. So I just ran as fast as I could at the end to the finish line and left it all out there with no regrets.
Then I looked at the clock and realized I was 2 minutes from where I wanted to be... "DANG, I could totally have taken off two minutes at the beginning" I thought.... Getting stuck behind all those people... phooey... Then I looked up some of my old races. My last 5K was 18 months ago and I finished this one 50 seconds faster than that one. But the time I did my last 5K pre-CrossFit when I was doing all that so called "training" was 2 minutes slower than my time for this race. And so for that I call it a success...
A new Personal Record regardless of the time I thought I should get. And I learned that I definitely can't maintain that 8 Minute mile when I go over the two mile mark. But that is OK... I'm getting faster without trying which is pretty awesome!
But the best part of that race was the people. Running with a large group was new to me. Having a huge cheering section at the finish line was also new to me. Passing people I knew, being passed and inspiring eachother to finish was such a joy.
So at the end of that race I realized that I can still run a 5K whenever I feel like it, without training and without worry but just to have fun with a group of people. Regardless of the time it takes me to finish.
I also learned that I should start closer to the front of the pack if I want to get rid of that extra two minutes. *wink*