Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K 5.0


Sitting in the parking lot, thinking about what just happened.

I saw the mile 1 clock and the number after the 7 was a zero. “Wait a minute,” I thought in a bit of a panic. “My first mile is going to be sub 7:10. I think I might be in trouble.”

The funny thing was, I didn’t feel like I was in trouble. I felt like I was completely in control. “So,” I told myself, “don’t worry about it and keep going.”

I had a lot of thoughts and a few conversations with myself Sunday morning running the Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K. The good news is, I won most of those conversations and allowed myself to just run. I didn’t freak out when I was going faster than I thought I would or could, and I didn’t pump the breaks when it started to hurt (it didn’t hurt nearly as much as 5Ks usually do). I talked myself into running hard the entire way, not worrying too much about what my watch said and what I thought I was capable of.

And I ran the second fastest 5K of my life, finishing in 21 minutes, 32 seconds, just 11 seconds shy of my personal best. It was my first age-group victory ever and I finished 57th out of 1,442 runners. I haven’t had many races in my nearly 8 years as a runner as good as this one. All because I gave myself permission to succeed.

I’ve been hearing a lot about giving yourself permission to fail. Try big, crazy things, the thinking goes, because even if you fail, you’ll probably learn something and become a better person for it, and, maybe, just maybe, you won’t fail. You’ll never succeed if you don’t try.

I let fear of failure hold me back all the time, despite the popular thinking, but just as often I don’t give myself permission to be successful. It’s not that I’m afraid I can’t do it, I’m positive I can’t.

That was the difference between my effort Sunday and my effort most times I toe the line with a bib pinned to my chest. I didn’t have a goal Sunday morning, but I didn’t let the voices in my head hold me back. I didn’t worry about what I thought I was capable of and what I thought I wasn’t capable of, I just put in a hard effort and let whatever happened happened.

There wasn’t really an AHA moment Sunday morning. Actually, I felt kind of shitty when I woke up. I didn’t feel nervous, but my stomach was having a hard time dealing with my coffee and protein bar breakfast. I ran a warmup, then spent 5-minutes talking myself into wearing racing flats (literally, I sat in the passenger seat of my car, telling myself it was OK to wear flats).

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 2.22.44 PMThen the race started and I just ran with the pack. I tucked in behind a few runners down the hill from the Expo to Hadlock Field, then hugged the side of the road, focusing on the people in front of me and not my watch.

When I saw the clock at mile 1 I did panic a little, but I quickly told myself not to worry about it. Turning onto Stevens Ave, I tried to stay relaxed and keep up the same effort. Just before the turn onto Brighton Ave. from Stevens, breathing started to get a little hard and my legs started to get a little heavy. I wanted to slow down, but I reminded myself of the long, steep downhill on Brighton and decided to embrace the hurt until the hill.

I cruised down that hill and saw the 2-mile clock, which read 13:5-something and wondered briefly if I could set a new PR. I forgot about that quickly and decided to run as hard as I could for the last 1.1 miles. I passed a few runners making the turn onto Deering, then was passed by a dude pushing a stroller on the overpass. I tried to hang as close to him as I could, but this guy was pulling away hard.

Again, I told myself to run relaxed and keep pushing. Turning into Fitzpatrick Stadium, I turned it up another notch. I passed a woman entering the stadium, and she just as quickly passed me back. I ran a few strides behind her running on the dirt behind the bleachers, avoiding the puddles from a long spring of rain.

I couldn’t see the clock from center field when I entered Hadlock Field and didn’t look at my watch. It wasn’t until I crossed the foul line in left field and started down the warning track along the left-field seats, that I saw 21 on the clock. I wasn’t going to PR, but it was going to be close. I watched my PR tick by as I closed in on the finish line, but still crossed with a fist pump, followed by a high-five for Slugger and his ma.

Sunday was the kind of race I haven’t had in a long time. The Kennebec River Rail Trail Half Marathon was validation that I was on the right track and the MDI Half Marathon was a celebration. The NYC Half was a step in the right direction. Sunday was all about pushing my limits and putting my training to the test. That wasn’t necessarily the plan going in, but it was definitely was what happened.

And it went better than I could have ever imagined. All because I gave myself permission to succeed.


3 thoughts on “Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K 5.0

  1. Pingback: No second guessing, 2019 was a win | Run With Scootah

  2. Pingback: Longfellow Frostbite 2.5K 1.0 | Run With Scootah

  3. Pingback: Looking for the good | Run With Scootah

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