This is what happens when a former triple jumper tries to run a 5k race

As a result of my early tuck-in last night, I woke up at eight and was ready to go. The only problem was that I didn’t really have anywhere to go that early, so I laced up my running shoes and decided to run the annual “Langskip” 5km road race here on campus. The money went to the Sanford’s Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Miracle Network here in Sioux Falls. Having spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child myself, I’m really passionate about contributing to those causes.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, after the most recent MRI scan of my foot, the doctors allowed me to start running again. It had been six months since I had even made a single running stride, so I was excited (to say the least!)

Now after a month of easy short runs I figured it would be safe to try out a “longer” distance. (Yes, 5km is a very long distance for a former triple jumper, just saying.) But I promised myself I’d be happy if I could run the whole thing without stopping or walking.

“Back in the days,” when I was a jumper and olympic weightlifter, I used to mobilize all my energy, aggression, and focus into one explosive movement, and I can still feel the adrenalin just by thinking about it. So… as soon as the gun (that was not actually a gun, but rather a woman yelling GO!) went off, I had to force myself to take it easy. My competitive instinct doesn’t need more than a loud “GO!” to kick in, and I’m just telling ya, I was ready to chase down every single one of the male runners ahead of me. But we all know that that mission wouldn’t have lasted much longer than about four minutes… In other words — not the best tactic for a 5k race.

The first kilometer went okay, and I was able to take it relatively easy — until a lady three times my age suddenly passed me. **Argh! That’s embarrassing Maria, pick up the pace!** So I did, and when I was just about to pass her, I remembered I still had four kilometers left. Wups… slow down. That incident kept repeating itself all throughout the race. Every time someone passed me I had to use force to control my “I-can-keep-up-with-you-no-matter-what mindset.” Or else the whole Langskip would probably end the same way all my distance running tests ended in middle school — with my half-digested breakfast spread out all over the place. Okay, that was a vulgar way of explaining that I used to run my heart out and ended up puking. Ewww I know. But oh well, you got the point.

With only 400m left of the race, I finally allowed myself to run a little faster and I passed all the women who had passed me earlier, so despite my placement as number 91, I was pretty satisfied.


What I’m the most happy about is that I was able to tame my competitive mindset and adjust it to the setting. It’s no secret that I have in the past, ruined my own experience by pushing myself too far in training or competition. Maybe I’ve matured and realized that it is actually possible to participate in stuff without always trying to win? Haha, who knows.

Now I’ll head out to eat, bless y’all,

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