Answering the Question: "How Was Your Run?"

I ran the Kernersville Rotary Club 5K this morning, one of my favorite races not for the course (curses on those hills and the heat!), but because it's a small race that a lot of my friends run. I love hanging out and cheering for everyone. Blair's at work and I know when he walks in the door the first thing he'll do is greet me with a cheerful, "How'd you do?"

I have no idea how to answer this question. 

I placed first in my age group and was the sixth woman overall with a time of 22:37 so one answer could justifiably be, "I did great!" But I don't feel great. I'm irked. My pace was 7 seconds slower than last year and one minute slower than my PR. I can understand not hitting a PR on this course, but I'm unhappy at being slower than last year, especially as I feel I'm a stronger runner now than I was then. 

"How was your run?" is such a subjective question. Some runners race just to take home the hardware. For me, winning a trophy is nice but it doesn't mean much other than I got lucky that faster runners in my age group didn't happen to show up that day. What always means the most to me is to PR or better my times. So if I'd run, say, a 21:30 but placed 10th in my age group today, I'd actually be happier because I'd know I went out there and killed it. 

All of which leads back to how to answer the "How was your run" question. I think in answering, any runner has to consider three things: 

  • Did I give the run my best effort? 
  • Did I meet my goal? (whether that goal be one of time, finishing the race with gas still in the tank, not getting passed, etc.)
  • Do I feel good about what I did?

I flunked this test today. I did not give the run my best effort, I did not meet my goal (one of time and also of not taking any walk breaks), and I don't feel good about what I did because I know--know--I was capable of more. I'm having more mental blocks lately with running than I am physical, something I need to work out as marathon training for Savannah starts in two weeks. 

All that whining and angst aside, today was still a great day. Got to see lots of friends, several of whom PR'd or just had really good runs. This is the fifth or sixth year I've run this race and it holds a special place in my heart as it is the very first race I ever ran. It was a beautiful day and I got to spend it outside, healthy, exercising, knowing everyone I love and care about is safe. 

That's worth much more than any trophy or PR.

Happy 4th of July!