Afterthoughts from a 5K.

I spent last night and this morning in a considerable state of panic due to the fact that, for the first time in a year, I was officially racing again. I think I had more angst about this 5k than I did for the Chicago Marathon. I don’t know if it was because I felt like I hadn’t trained well enough for it, if it was because I was still experiencing pain issues while I was training for it, or because Daylight Savings Time gave me an extra hour for my brain to have fucked up dreams and general obsessive worry.

I was supposed to run this with my sister, but on Thursday she got into a car accident. She’s fine, thank God, but she decided to sit this race out. Though I was disappointed, I was more grateful than anything – she was okay, and I now had to be truly focused on getting myself through whatever this experience was going to be.

I was talking to one of my other sisters not too long ago, about how – at least where our individual attitudes are concerned – if we’re not good at something, we don’t typically keep up with it and how it was so surprising that I did an entire marathon… because, well, I’m not good at running. Relatedly, too, many people have said, “Hey, Amanda? Maybe running just isn’t your thing.”

To those people: I wholeheartedly agree with you. Running is not my thing. I see its benefit. I sometimes grasp joy from it, but those moments are few and fleeting. More often than not, I struggle and I hate it. I will never win marathons or even 5k’s, and I marvel at those who run, day in and day out, in competition and for leisure, just because they love it.

And yet, I write these words from a strange place: I actually did better this year than last on this same race. Last year, I averaged 13:34 per mile for a total time of 43:08 and this year I averaged 13:30 for a total time of 41:55. (Believe me, I am SHOCKED.)

I think, sometimes, life just throws you curveballs: some are no more than the size of a golf ball, while others are fucking boulders that haven’t been stopped by anything for ages. I also think you can get through most things, even if it takes a little time and a lot of frustration.

So, while I’m not drinking the runner’s Kool-Aid, I will continue to improve myself the best I can – as long as my body allows it – and do races here and there. I will, of course, be taking it slowly (there was some debate on my end as to whether or not to sign up for a half-marathon training program this year; I ultimately decided not to).

Have a good day and be kind to yourselves. I’m going to take a celebratory nap.

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