12 in ’14: why “it’s just a 5K” is a horrible thing to say

january – ABB 5K and houston marathon

february – rhythm and blues 5K

march – sugarland half marathon

april – green6.2

may – tough mudder and run or dye

june – heights fun run 5K

it’s june 11, and so far i’ve done 8 events this year, totaling almost 70 miles (with countless training runs in between). running an event a month is starting to become draining, on both my stamina and my wallet. but i’m still enjoying it.

this past saturday, i ran the heights fun run 5K. it was a very simple course – just up and down heights blvd. but i knew it was going to be relatively easy, so i wanted to get a pr (personal record). my previous pr was during the rhythm and blues 5K, where i ran 3.1 miles in 28:59. i’ve been doing a lot better in my training, so i my goal for the heights fun run was to do it in under 26 minutes. it would be hard, but i was sure i could do it.

sometimes life gets in the way. the night before was our good friend’s rehearsal dinner. i knew that when i signed up for the race, but i thought i’d just go to the dinner and then leave right away and go to bed. but all of our friends were in from out of town, and they all kept saying “it’s just a 5K, it’s just a 5K.” even my one friend that normally sides with me on running matters kept trying to convince me to go out. so, against my better judgement, i went out. and kept drinking.

so, of course, i went to bed after 2:30 and woke up at 6:30 for a 7:30 start. i felt horrible. i didn’t get enough sleep (shocking) and i was a little hungover. i seriously contemplated skipping the run altogether. but i knew i would be frustrated with myself if i skipped it so i got dressed and made my way to the starting line.

the run was horrible. i felt sick the entire time. i had to walk several times. i couldn’t ever catch my breath. and it was all my fault. it wasn’t just the drinking, and it wasn’t just the lack of sleep – it was the combination of both. i’ve felt better running after drinking a lot more the night before, and i’ve felt better running after getting no sleep, but put those together and its a disaster.

i was, and still am, so mad at myself. i made a commitment to run an event a month, and not just run it, but actually try my best. and i had been doing really good in my training. that’s why i say a 5K is not just a 5K. doing bad on an easy race can have lasting effects. it can make you almost want to give up.

regardless of all that, i still beat my personal record, i just didn’t do the run under my goal. my finish time was 28:09, so i guess that’s something, at least. from now on, the night before a run is for resting. not partying at hipster bars.


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