After competing in 2 Ironman triathlons, 6 marathons, and countless other triathlons whenever I tell people I am running a 5k I get this response, “Oh that’s easy for you”. While the distance of 3.1 miles is not intimidating to me, what is intimidating is running at the brink of passing out for 17ish minutes. A 5k is VERY painful and difficult if one runs it all out. And I got that experience for the first time in over a year Sunday at the Ravenswood 5k. Now I don’t want to turn this into a race report but with a 5k you basically sprint out of the gate, and try to hold on as long as possible. I tried my best to do that and by the end of the race my legs were cramping and I was in the hurt locker. My legs just could not go anymore after that race.
With a marathon, Ironman, or longer distance race a lot of the pain is mental or fatigue rather than the body just saying, “hey you need to slow down or else.” There is some of that in longer distance races no doubt but some of that is nutrition based and some can be overridden by telling your brain to be quiet. The recovery from a 5k is faster than a longer race because it is so short but the pain that comes at the end of that race and right after is no joke. The last quarter of a mile you can taste metal in your mouth from the body basically saying “no more”.
Moral of this post? EVERY RACE HURTS! It is just a matter of what kind of pain and how hard you push yourself. So if you finish a race feeling fantastic, you left something out there! But it takes a little while to get used to being in discomfort so be patient, but not too patient! Live in the moment and race hard!