Sprinting From The Start

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A new year is like a 5K.

When the idea of a 5K is brought up, it’s typically because there’s a fundraiser that means something to you, you’re using it as an excuse to get in shape, or you have friends that peer pressured you into it.

You sign up with so much excitement that you find yourself posting photos on social media of your race number, your new shoes, your new outfit. You use captions like “let’s do this” or “watch out Columbus/Chicago/whatever city you’re in.”

The morning of the race your alarm goes off and you’re like 50/50 interested in doing it anymore. You ask yourself why you’re up so early on a weekend, why you got talked into this in the first place, why you ate so bad the night before, why you literally have to walk about 3.1 miles from your car to even get to the start line to run 3.1 more miles. But, once you get to the start line it feels so exciting.

You’re waiting with a bunch of other people on the same mission. Like January 1, you are standing in a group of people who are sharing a mission to improve their lives. You’re stretching out, you’re pinning on your number, you’re taking selfies, you’re saying “I’m going to run the whole thing,” you’re teeing up your favorite Kanye West song to start right when you put your foot over the start line.

And then it happens . . .

You trained for a 10 minute per mile pace, as did everyone around you, but they all take off sprinting. They are running at a pace like an elite athlete, so, naturally, you up your game. You are suddenly 3/4 of the way through your first mile and it’s only been 5 minutes. And for those first 5 minutes, you’re joyful. Everyone is packed tight around you. You look good in that new outfit. You can still hear the music they were playing at the start line over the music in your headphones.

But, you’re not trained to run that fast.

Everyone starts to spread apart.

So you not only slow down to the pace you trained for, you walk.

Your heart-rate is so high, you can’t possibly get it back down to a manageable level. So, you decide to walk it in.

Not only are you walking it in, but now you’re pissed that you had to give up before the free water at mile marker 1.

You tell yourself you didn’t train well.

You mentally criticize the people around you.

You wonder how the 75-year-old that is running super slow just passed you.

You vow to never run a 5K again.

A new year can be so similar! Everyone starts sprinting from the start — but there’s only very few who are trained for that pace. There’s very few that can run under a 6 minute mile for that long. There’s very few that can eat perfect, workout every day, get promoted, keep their house perfectly organized, pursue all their hopes and dreams, and somehow keep up with a five-step skincare routine at night.

Go at your own pace.

Go at the pace that will have you still jogging over the finish line. Go at a pace you can still run after 3 miles — you may even want to race again. Go at a pace that you’re still bragging about your 2020 goals in December.

Don’t get caught up in the hype of the music at the starting line. Don’t try to keep up with the men in sleeveless shirts and women in Lululemon shorts.

Go. at. your. pace.

I will be out there with you. At my pace. Slow and steady . . . and consistent, until the end.