If you haven't read my 5K race recap, go here to check it out.
Long story short, though, I accomplished two things. First, I beat my brother Danny for the first time in a race, and for the first time in any sort of athletic competition in a long time. I don't recall the last time I beat him... maybe a game of basketball back in the day.
Second, I destroyed my previous (and only) 5K time of 25:05. I got a time that I feel more accurately reflects the runner I am today. Well, it might be a bit too fast for me, but you know what? I'll take it.
After my marathon, I wasn't necessarily thinking of setting new PRs. I suppose that's what my challenges are, since I've already ran a 5K, 10K, 15K, half marathon and full marathon. I've proven I can handle those distances so now it's a matter of besting them and my previous times.
It may not sound like much fun, to try and beat certain times, but it certainly is motivating. Running is not something you can just do every now and then and expect to do well. Last year's Seal Beach 10K was testament to that. I wasn't really running on any sort of regular schedule and hadn't logged a ton of mileage and I finished in 56 minutes, and I was trying to do well. I finished the Mission Inn 10K in 50:24, and that was more accurate of where I was with my training then. If I run a 10K next weekend, I'm confident that I could beat that time.
I wondered on Sunday morning why I should go out to the Lopers. After all, most of the Lopers that have been going to our Sunday runs are training for the LA Marathon, and I'm not. Most of them had to get 10 miles in this weekend, and I didn't. I ran a race on Saturday and was tired for most of the rest of the day. I could have called it a weekend and stayed home to relish in my accomplishment. Add in the blowing wind gusts we had at our house and the time change, and I could have stayed in bed and nobody could have said much to me about it.
But those doubts lasted about two seconds.
If I want to continue feeling good about my races and feeling good about my chances to PR in those races and just finish strong and run them the way I want to run them, then I had no choice but to get out there and run. That's what I do. I'm not good at basketball or soccer or tennis or whatever. I'm good at running. I'm not going to qualify for Boston or win my age category (although, dang, I came close to doing that on Saturday!) but I'm going to have fun trying to beat my times.
So what if I don't have a marathon to train for? That doesn't mean I should slow down any. So what if I ran a 23:09 5K? That doesn't mean I can let up.
My times are a reflection of the miles and effort I put in during the week, so if I want to continue having good performances in races, then I need to continue logging the miles and train the way I have been.
That's the best way to keep myself honest.