If you keep learning the same lesson over and over again are you really learning the lesson?
I can think of many areas of my life where over the years I have learned a lesson and thought I won’t make that mistake again. The problem is that more often then I would like to admit I end up doing just that. I ran The Perfect 10 Mile race last weekend and learned a valuable lesson. That lesson is that it is very important to develop a plan for a race and stick to that plan. The only problem is that I learned that exact lesson at a 5K race last year. Something is telling me that I may be a slow learner.
I had a plan to run a nice easy 10 mile race at 9 minute miles. I was confident I could run faster, but I am training for the Horse Capital Marathon and I want to run that at a 9 minute pace so this was going to be training for that. Luckily, at the Perfect 10 that had pacers so I lined up with the 9 minute guy and we took off. I figured out pretty quick that he was running around 8:45 instead of 9:00, but I thought that will be fine. I felt good and was confident that I could do faster anyway. 2 miles in I decided that this pace was too easy and I needed to push a little harder. Again, last year I learned in a race to stick to my plan.
After 2.5 miles I told my brother-in-law that I was going to drop down to 8:30 at the 3 mile point. I left the group and started off on my own. At mile 4 I realized that mile was around 8:11 and I thought that was a little fast and I better slow down. Then at mile five I was at 8:14. Slowing down was a little harder to do than I anticipated. UNTIL….Mile 6. At mile 6 we found some hills that I didn’t know existed in Fayette County. It seemed as though we were climbing sheer cliffs. Then straight back down so we could go back up again.
The hills weren’t really that bad, but they where more than I had anticipated (by a lot). The miles that I over did heading into the hills had zapped more of my energy than I was prepared to give and I didn’t have enough to maintain pace for the last few miles. I ended the race with a run/walk strategy that was more about survival than anything. About mile 8.5 the guy leading the 9:00 pace group came running up behind me and then beside me and then eventually past me. I ended the race with a pace of 9:17. Honestly, that is a decent time for a 10 mile race. I know I can do better though. If I had just ran at a 9:00 pace from the beginning I would have had the energy to climb those hills on the back half.
Sometimes in life we get excited about what is happening around us and we lose focus on our goal. If you have a plan that is well thought out you should probably do what you can to stick to that plan. There was a reason I wanted to run at 9:00. I had a purpose and I let that fly out the window because I got excited and overly eager. I have done the same thing with financial decisions in the past. Whether it is buying a car instead of holding onto the old one for a couple extra years, (like I had planned) or agreeing to join a new group or start a new project while talking about trying to free up my schedule some.
I am confident that this isn’t the last time that I will learn to slow myself down and follow the plan. I get excited about something or see a need that I can fill and just want to jump in. Sometimes though slowing down and making sure that this new idea isn’t going to pull you away from your ultimate goal is an important first step. So what I have learned this time is that if I am going to modify my game plan (which needs to happen sometimes) I will first try to decided if this is going to affect my ultimate goal. Why am I doing what I’m doing and will this new plan get me the results I am going for. If yes, it may be worth it. In my case though I think most times I will be smarter to stick to the plan and stay the course.