Valuable Lesson from Running a 5K

running 5KToday, I ran the Windermere 5K in Cumming, GA. While I’ve run longer distances, I was nervous because I twisted my foot earlier in the week and thought that I’d have to skip the race altogether. Fortunately, I rested my foot over the past few days and felt comfortable giving the race a try.

I lined up at 7:30 am and anxiously waited to hear the announcer yell “go” to the crowd of 100+ runners. As soon as I heard the words, I quickly jumped to the front of the line but I quickly got this odd feeling as my heart started pounding at what felt like a 100 miles an hour. A good part of my nervousness was driven by my thoughts about foot — was it going to hurt or was it going to carry me through the race? Once I realized that my foot was solid, I focused on the run and stayed within my pace. And as I hit the first mile, I unexpectedly found myself outside of the pack for the first time. I realized how the pack helps me gauge my progress and pace. Being outside of the pack, I noticed that there was no real feedback so I decided to just go as fast as my body would take me.

I found the feeling of being out of the pack unusually exhilarating. I stayed focused — watching my pace and looking back every so often to determine if any other runners were catching up to me. Once I started climbing the final hill of the race, I noticed how my brain became poisoned with the idea of taking a short break but I immediately talked myself out of it. And as soon as the finish line was in sight, I picked up the pace and hurled my body over the line clocking in at 20:50 for a 3.1 mi run, my best time for a 5K.

And while I’m darn proud of my 7 minute per mile pace, I was actually more proud of the unexpected lesson that I learned today that is applicable to running as much as development and entrepreneurship: you shouldn’t be afraid of getting out of the pack. The course and goal remains the same so first focus on pulling away from your competition and then just go!

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4 Comments

  1. I placed 5th overall and second in my age category (30 – 39). I plan to be back next year and to come in first place. 🙂

  2. I love this post, Tomer. Knowing when to leave the pack and run your own race is typically what separates an entrepreneur from being successful or not. You have to be comfortable to “run your own race”. I like that.

    Also, there's a line in a song by Drivin' n Cryin' that goes something like, “The leader must start the march and fall behind to walk with the people.” In leadership, I think you have to know when to step out, start the race, and then get back into the herd. I've learned that last part over the past few years, took me 10 years to get that one 😉

  3. Jeff — I couldn't agree with you more about getting back into the herd — it is an excellent way to reaffirm your prior beliefs, see how to do a better job the second time around or learn a new skill.

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