Today was my sixth of seven runs in the Un-cancelled series, a 15K. Like the 8K, I had never run a 15K before. No matter what time I ran it in, it would be a PR. As I was headed out the door I had to look on google to even know the exact mileage equivalent of 15K.
I went out aiming to run at an 9:39 pace and stayed near that for the whole run. This put me in a different place than races in previous weeks. In my last few runs, I stepped up my goal as I ran, which meant I had to make up time and chase down a deficit. Today I better managed my pace, stayed more consistent for the entire run, and hit my goal with 21 seconds to spare.
However, that doesn’t mean this run was easy. This is my 10th virtual race in the last six weeks. In the last two weeks alone I’ve run a marathon, 10K, 8K, and today a 15K. I have run all of these races with integrity. I may not have set PRs, but I have run hard as if I was in a race. About halfway through today’s run I hit a point where my legs were tired and sore. I could have easily said I’ve raced hard lately and backed off. But I doubled down on the pace and finished with a negative split (running the second half faster than the first).
The theme for this week is courage. It takes courage to face pain and lift your head and pull your shoulders back and push on. However, it is by far not the most courageous thing in the world. Often, I have used races to do fundraising. Whenever I do that, I carry the names of people with me who donate and I am always reminded that they have shown more courage than I. The people who have donated to me are people who have overcome cancer, single parents who have raised children, spouses who have lost loved ones. I may have the courage to turn my legs over when they are tired, but that doesn’t compare to the courage of people who have lived in poverty, abuse, and loss.
Today, we have countless examples of courage. Over 20 percent of Ohioans who have contracted coronavirus are healthcare workers. Yet, every day, doctors and nurses and healthcare workers walk back in to hospitals. People in grocery stores continue to keep us fed. There is courage all around us. Whether we run or not, let us all be inspired by the abundance of courage.