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Finishers Medals

Saturday’s “Too Hot To Handle” Finisher’s Medal matching up with February’s “Too Cold To Hold” Finisher’s Medal

This past weekend I ran in two 5K races.  One on Saturday, leisurely.  One on Sunday as hard as I could.  Despite the Texas July heat, the humidity, and having run the previous day, I ran the second fastest 5K race of my life.

I wasn’t always able to run a 5K race.  In January of 2013, I couldn’t even run 30 seconds at a time.  That month, I set then the goal of running a complete 5K race by the end of the year.

I trained.  Or tried.  Mostly failed.  By December of that year, I was no closer to being able to actually run a 5K.

When December came up, I went ahead and signed up for a 5K.  I figured, if I can’t run, at least I can walk.  Maybe run a little bit here and there.  Not my original goal, but that’s better than staying home.  I figured at least it would motivate me to do much better next time.

Out of 315 finishers, I came in at #299.  Out of 15 people in my gender/age group, I finished dead last at #15.

I joked with my friends “I finished in the top 95% of all racers!!”.

I didn’t feel bad though at having done so “poorly” – I congratulated myself on actually having accomplished it.  It was better than staying home.  I actually felt inspired by being with all of those other runners who ran so fast, and continuously without needing to stop for air…!

I signed up for another race 1 month later.  And then another. And another.  It’s been one year and a half since that first race, and I’ve participated in 19 races.  I love racing.

Last Sunday, during the 2nd race of that weekend, out of 1,574 runners, I finished #142.  Out of 74 men in my age-group category, I finished 12th.

This means I finished in the top 9% of all runners – a huge improvement over finishing in the top 95% during that first 5K race a year and a half.

I know though – there is no way I could have finished in the top 9% of all racers if I hadn’t been willing to finish in the top 95% on my first race.

And that’s the point of this post:  If I had waited until I could run a full 5K before entering a race, I probably would still not be able to run a 5K.  I certainly wouldn’t have increased my speed as much as I have.

By being willing to do “poorly” that first race and some subsequent races, I set the stage to allow myself to run them much better.

So, if you can’t do something as well as you’d like, go ahead and do it badly.  To quote Zig Ziglar “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

What is something you very much desire to do but think you’ll do it badly at first?  Go ahead and do it and enjoy doing it poorly!  It’s likely the pathway to eventually getting to do it well.

As for myself, well, I still think there’s too many people running faster than me, so I’m going to go train some more.  😉

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