March Madness Running Challenge
I have always been competitive when I run. Even when I was just running around Nicholasville with Nathan and my dog, we would generally end up faster, trying to "beat" one another to an imaginary finish line. I usually run alone, but whenever I see someone off ahead of me, I (consciously or not) speed up the pace, hoping to catch them. But even when I'm running by myself, I push myself to run faster. Those "slow" runs on a training schedule can be difficult!
I love to challenge myself to run faster, so when I saw that dailymile was holding a March Madness Running Challenge, I jumped at the chance. This is how the challenge worked: for the first round, anyone could join (they had separate challenges for men and women). The challenge was to run the most distance in a week. There are some real workhorses on dailymile, and I just barely managed to eke my way into the top 32 and into the second round (especially as I had just run a half marathon distance the day before the challenge posted).
The second round was a speed challenge; the 16 fastest 5K times would advance. I ran a 5K... about 30 seconds slower than I wanted to. I might have advanced with my time of 20 minutes, but I wasn't sure, and I sure wasn't happy with my time. So after a rest day, I tried again... and ran my fastest 5K yet: 19:00! (I ran a little long, so I actually broke 19 for the first time since high school!).
That was good enough to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, another distance challenge. I cruised my way into the Elite Eight, averaging 8 miles/day for the three day challenge, and it was on to another speed challenge, this time at the 10K distance.
I have never run a 10K race before, but I have been running pretty well lately, so I was originally planning to run toward a goal of 44 minutes. Except I went faster. Quite a bit faster. And due to a Garmin that went a little wacky, I ran a little far, and still broke my goal time by 2 minutes. Until I realized that I'd run far - so I did the calculations and realized that my adjusted time was 39 minutes! I was so psyched! I made it to the Final Four.
But that was where I was going to bow out (as gracefully as possible), as this two-day distance challenge saw my 16 miles eclipsed by two guys who had monster weekends (54 and 34 miles!)
It was a really fun competition, and it hit that competitive nerve that gets me going.
I know that not everyone who reads my blog is a runner - nor should they be - and the point of me talking about running isn't to shame anyone into running or to call anyone out or anything of the sort (I write about running because I enjoy running). The point of this blog is that there was something that drove me to work hard to do something I didn't think I could do. Is there something that you have wanted to try that maybe you just need some extra motivation?