The Chilly Chase is exactly what it set out to be with chilly, raining and absolutely beautiful Vancouver weather (at least from a local’s point of view).
Today I had decided I was going to push myself. It was the first time I was using a running app on my phone. I have been using RunKeeper to keep track of how many miles I run and the time it takes me. It has its advantages and disadvantages but perhaps not in the way you might expect.
Advantages: It told me my pace. In training I know what is a good pace for me and it keeps me consistent. I can compare my time and my pace to get an estimate on how long this run might take.
Disadvantages: The program was telling me exactly where I was in the race, my speed and time. I realized I was going faster then expected and because I was doing so well, I got excited when I had reached nearly 4k and it had only been 30 mins. This was the fastest I had ever done and I began to speed up, wanting to beat my best time. This I must admit was the first time competition with myself has ever played a part in my running/walking. I put aside my thoughts of pacing and began to put the challenge to the clock. Suddenly I realized
1: It was selfish. This excitement I must admit, nearly caused me to have an asthma attack right in the middle of the run. It was like I suddenly couldn’t breath, the voice from the earphones... “ you are now at 4.5k” my lungs were on fire. I felt I could just collapse. I have never been one of those people to really panic when there is a situation, but this was just one of those times. I quickly slowed down my pace to a walk, but I didn’t stop. To stop would allow the asthma to take over, so I kept walking and taking as big of a breath as I could. I did this a number of times, ( including using the inhaler) and finally it came to a point where I thought I would be safe to speed up my walking again.
2: I realized this wasn't about me, to the reasons I was running and enjoying these activities, I wanted to make my family and friends proud that I was doing the smart thing, I owed them the respect they deserved, in supporting me for my activities as I did them.
I was rounding the bend to the last bit and my earbud screamed again in my ear... 44 minutes... it didn’t matter now... it wasn't about the time anymore, it was about crossing the finish line. I crossed it at 45 mins, my best time ever, but at what possible cost? I must admit this near attack was almost at the same level I had when I was a kid. I brought myself to the brink; the difference, I knew what it was and how to control it. Not to say I didn’t have coughing and wheezing fits for the next few hours, but I had finally learned how to push myself perhaps (not that far in the future), but enough of knowing I might be able to do better.
This brought me to 3: Some of the dedications I had this time got me thinking again: with my asthma, I am attempting to control something that may never be controllable. Some of the dedications I had were of people posting hopes in events that were completely out of their control, yet they all contained hope, even in their saddest moments. Sometimes we strive to control something that is either completely out of our control (and we know it) or something we hope might be controlled if we only try hard enough. Sometimes it's both.
I realized that with the future training for my 40 mile walk/run coming in June, that it’s not going to be about my time anymore, its about how far I can go, and how to do it safely. Excitement is well and good and it does motivate you, but if you allow that and caution to the wind, you could end up hurting yourself, and it will only be you to blame, no one else.
As for the app... I think I will continue to use it for training purposes only, but when it comes to the great walk I think i’ll leave it off and let my distance tell me how I’m doing.
PS As will as getting my best time, I won the door prize and got a finishers medal :-)