Sometimes Getting Better Isn’t Getting Faster

Today, I ran the Surf City Half Marathon and completed my fourth Beach Cities challenge.

My time was a 2:07:52 with a 9:46/ mi pace.  This was about 45 seconds slower than last year, and a little over 2 minutes slower than my best time on this course.

I am notoriously bad at appreciating my races when I don’t improve my times, but today, something different happened…well, many different things happened, and I wanted to reflect on and remember them because they show that I’m making progress on my new year’s resolution to “do less, but be more intentional.”

Today’s time was slower, yes, but I felt great during and after the race and I ran negative/ even splits throughout the whole race.  My slowest two miles were at the start and my mile splits ranged from 9:19 (at mile 13!) to 9:52.

This is remarkable for me because I have previously started my races with a goal of getting a sub-2-hour time which means that I generally start at a sub-9 minute pace (which I can usually keep for about 5-7 miles) then crash really hard. While my times are slightly faster when I race this way, I end up in a lot of pain post-race and I feel super exhausted.

I also was really happy with the race itself. In the past, if someone were to ask me my time and I had gotten the time I got today, I would have said it reluctantly with the caveat that it wasn’t a PR and that I had been sick during training.

But today, I felt really proud of myself and what I ran.  I went out and ran my race.  I listened to an awesome K-pop mix (with a sprinkling of Lizzo, Moana & Soy Yo for good measure) while I was running and I felt joyful to be running in a cool marine layer for the entire race, walking to drink water and take energy gels and looking out for teammates.

After the race, I dropped my friend that I had carpooled with off at her car, picked my son up from Chinese school, went to lunch with my family, then went to put flowers at the gravesite of my mom, grandma and aunt, three of the strongest women I have ever known.  I walked up the hill without any physical pain. I got to start my week honoring my mom, spending a moment near her.

Tonight, continuing our recent Sunday evening tradition, we had a living room dance party.  And I was able to dance with my son and daughter.

All of this, I guess, to say that sometimes, it’s not about the result, the destination, the time, how fast you can go, how successful you are by a numeric measure (this makes me smile because it’s actually the message of my upcoming TEDx talk too 😉 ). Instead, perhaps it’s really about the beauty in the most human of moments, in the journey, in the connections — in being able to be present because you didn’t overextend yourself.

I’m not sure, but I do know that today was a good day and I’m feeling surprisingly good for having run 13+ miles this morning 🙂

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