Participation in life is about experiences, growth and, contribution. The Bendigo Fun Run, encompasses all three!
Yesterday I completed the Bendigo Bank Fun Run with 3000 or so other enthusiastic participants. This was my first fun run so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I got hold of a course map a few weeks earlier and had completed a practise run to see how I would go and compare the run with my usual running course.
After a lot of waiting around, we were finally ready to start. As I stood at the starting line, I began talking to the girl next to me. She mentioned feeling a bit nervous and I admitted, I was a little bit nervous but, I couldn’t figure out why. She said it was because it was important to me and, if I wasn’t nervous, then it probably wasn’t important. I love this philosophy and just then, I felt the butterflies twitching in my stomach. I wish I’d said that!
She had a strategy to go in the slower group, so she could see the faster group ahead of her and encourage her to run faster and catch up. I didn’t catch up with her at the end and wondered how much she gained on them.
Nevertheless, this strategy may not work for everyone. For instance, another person may feel too overwhelmed by the distance between the two groups thus; this could potentially have a reverse effect for some people.
This is when a high level of self-awareness is beneficial.
For example: Would this strategy have worked for you?.
What’s your personality type? Your fitness level? Capacity to focus? Determination?
Or, would you be more comfortable at the front of the pack? What would keep you running, harder, faster? Are you running away from the pack behind you? Or, are you running toward the FINISH line?
PAUSE here for a moment to reflect.
What did you learn about yourself? It’s interesting to notice isn’t it! Have you done something similar you thought you may adapt if you were running?
I wonder how she went. I didn’t get to run with her long. I called out ‘see-ya’ after the first 50m or so as she raced along at a breakneck speed. I’m tipping this strategy worked well for her. Luckily for me, I seem to have lost my competitive edge. I am doing this for reasons other than competition and, if I am feeling competitive, I now have a time to measure against. I can compete against myself. I also used this strategy as I visualised my FINISH time throughout the run.
Now, this is going to sound weird but, I really struggled with running on the flat surface. When I go for my daily run, I start off with about a 50m flat stretch and then it’s predominantly uphill from then on for the next several kilometres (I usually run between 6-11 km and average about 8km). In comparison, when I ran the practise course and the fun run event, I struggled with the flat surfaces.
To make matters worse, I had been distracted earlier in the morning and had forgotten to eat a healthy breaky. I was planning on something light, such as a banana. They even had a full breakfast provided at the fun run but, thinking we were about to start the run, I felt I had left it too late. If only I had known it was to be another half an hour or so before we would be starting. Darn it! I was like Popeye without his spinach! I had to turn this around and, FAST! So, I began telling myself I had eaten a banana, I am fit, healthy, prepared and focused. BELIEVE!!!
However, I found myself lacking energy and waiting for the adrenaline to kick in so I really struggled for the first few kilometres. I’m just used to starting with a hill to warm me up. Once we approached the first of only two hills in the course, I found a slight shift but, self doubt was trying to kick into my mind saying, ‘you didn’t have breaky, you’re gonna struggle’. But, this wasn’t going to make any difference to me now, there was nothing I could do about it. So, I told myself, ‘so what, I’m doing the run anyway, just do it, keep going, just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving’. I did and continued to focus on my breathing!
I wasn’t surprised to find myself being distracted by other runners. As I heard other runners pounding the pavement, and breathing, I forced myself to focus on my breathing and do what I normally do. I do this every day so; it’s nothing new for me. Just focus. I imagined my usual daily running course and pictured myself running along a particular street, gazing up at the tree tops and, where I would go after that. This visualisation technique invigorated me, revitalising my energy as I ran along on auto pilot. I imagined each corner I would be turning at home and placed into my present location. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish line.
With the finish line less than 50m ahead, and the impeding thud of runners gaining, my competitive spirit kicked in as I drew on my last energy resources and rapidly, sprinted across the finish line. It’s amazing what you can do when you are pushed hard enough.
I’d expected to complete the 10km in approximately 1hr 15 mins, give or take five minutes and to my horror, when I crossed the finish line the clock read 1 hr 31 mins. A few minutes later, a friend told me the clock was set for the 15 km fun run and I needed to take about half an hour off to measure my time. Originally, I was relieved but, in hindsight, feel I should have completed the course in a shorter time, given I there were no hills in the fun run. Well barely any.
Actual time recorded: 1:01:21. Overall place 308. Category Place 12.
Congratulations to all the participants.
Lesson 1: Boyscout – always be prepared (have breaky).
Lesson 2: Group training – occasionally.
Lesson 3: I was able to overcome my physical lack of energy to get through the run, using the power of my mind. Focusing on my breathing and using visualisation.
I’m already beginning to imagine myself in a marathon, after eating a healthy breaky, prepared, focussed and using visualisation (which I am already doing).