Run Because It Is Fun!

This year, in a fit to be sporty, and active, I decided to take part in the Österreichischen Frauenlauf again. When I started running the Frauenlauf I had always been in a group with my school. This was nice, because I started in a team, and crossed the line alone, but at the very least I could meet the group again. Then we'd exchange stories of how rubbish the band at 3k was, or if you managed to run through the water font without wetting yourself. Even though, wetting yourself was the goal.

In 2013 I had finished school, and simply decided that I should run it alone. Nothing could go wrong there? Did I really need to talk to someone who is two grades lower than me?
The answer is yes.

Starting alone is all right. You're nervous enough as it is: you still need to prepare your music, make sure your underwear and socks sit comfortably, and check if your shoes are tied properly.
But after crossing the line you want to tell a friend about what you have achieved. If you thought that you managed to beat your time, or why you needed a break after the fourth kilometer.
Having no-one wait for you at the finish line, or not waiting for someone, somehow makes it ... sad. You can only go home, and tell your mum about it. But that doesn't have the same feel to it, because she hadn't been there in the first place.

This year I had been exuberantly enthusiastic, by saying that I am going to try and run the 5k in 25 minutes.
Mind you, that is my goal every year. It's my dream goal. It's my white wale. I always follow the running schedule which claims that I will manage to do such. This year, I even kept at it.
I could see because of my Runtastic times that I was getting faster. This wasn't only due to the fact that I had had a good day, but they were constantly faster than three weeks ago. I felt fine, and enthusiastic.
Letting my inner egoist out, I decided to start in my designated starting block, and not a handful further back with my friend. I've had to overtake too many people in my time to do this again. Furthermore, my friend even stated that I shouldn't start in the - I quote - "Snail block" because of her. So maybe I am not such a bad person after all.

I have to admit, it worked. My designated block was perfect for me. I had to overtake a few people at the start, but then I had found my people who settled into the same jog as me. This was nice. Nobody got in the way of anybody.
However, after having run the first kilometer I had noticed that I had been timed at roughly 5:45 minutes. So I had a choice of either running faster, and risking a small hammer-down along the way. Or I could go on my merry way at my current speed which felt comfortable but also challenging at the same time.
Even though I managed to be two seconds faster in the second kilometer, I decided on the latter.

In the end I wondered if I would manage to beat the time from the last race (2014 - since I skipped 2015). This seemed possible in my mind. At least until I reached the fourth kilometer, and had been timed 25 minutes already. While the band was playing in rude irony Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood, I realized that I wasn't going to make that either.

I racked my brain if there would be anything positive about this race when I finished. Somehow "only" finishing didn't seem good enough for my surprisingly fragile ego.
But 500 meters later I found it: for the first time I would run the Frauenlauf in one stint.

In seven year I had never done this. I had always run like my bum had been on fire for the first three to four kilometers and then I crashed. This had always meant that I hated myself for the lack of stamina.

This year I sprinted towards the finish line, managed a fantastic 31:0,9 - avoided the full second by a whisker - and I smiled.
I am getting older and slower, but I had managed to run the whole thing through, and I wasn't too exhausted either.
I was proud of myself. Fucking proud. Prouder than I had been the time I had run 28 minutes.

But why? Why was I so proud of myself, despite the fact that I had basically failed?

The thing is, that this time I knew that my dream goal was out of reach. This time I just wanted to run for the sake of running. And for the sake of spending a little time with my friend.
I didn't want to beat anyone, or prove that I am still as fit as I had been five years ago. I didn't have to fear that I would be judged, or got the feeling that anyone would judge me.
Hence, I could be proud of my own small victory. This is good.

For the future I'll take this way: run because it's fun, and not to prove anything.

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