Towards the end of 2018, in December, I decided to read the Harry Potter Series. And by read, I mean I essentially finished a book either within 24 Hours, 48 Hours or within a week. This then lead to me  completing the entire series - 7 books - in 1 Month. When I finished the series, I felt that I went too fast and could have enjoyed the characters more if I read slower. Something I realized when I finish a book/series is that I tend to read just to see how it all ends and neglect (not on purpose) minor details, and sub-plots, all to see how the main plot plays out. 

This often leads to me being upset that I didn't ~enjoy my time~ with the characters; when I read really fast through a series I sometimes forget what happened in Book 1 when I'm on Book 5. Did I read Book 1 before I got to Book 5? Well, uh yes obviously! But I think the reason why it would be hard for me to remember key details of what happened in Book 1 is because I just read it at surface level to gather the information I needed to understand the next book in the series.

Through my flying through fictional adventures (and occasionally non-fictional adventures), I began to wonder if I applied this sort of main-plot-is-the-only-thing-that's-important mindset elsewhere in my life. Similar to me ~inhaling~ a novel within 24 hours, I noticed that I applied it just about everywhere in my life. From wanting things career wise to have happened yesterday, my speed on the track to be faster hours ago, and to wanting this blanket I've been crocheting to have been completed last month.

All of things I mentioned above - career moves, speed, crochet -  take time. You can't just wake up one morning and suddenly have a nice looking salary, stronger arms, legs and core to get you to cross that finish line faster, and a finished winter blanket. There are steps for each of them that lead you to where you intend to go.

In terms of having the mindset of only focusing on the main plot - for example, I'd love for my career in tech to go in the direction I want it to be in, but by only focussing on a job in tech as the main plot, I lose the minor details that are also part of my tech journey. There's the small triumphs along the way- doing freelance work, educating myself on a programming topic I wasn't so strong on before, learning a new programming language etc. Not everything happens linearly, but through this lovely rollercoaster of my tech life I've realized that those subplots, actually strengthen the person you are aiming to be in the main plot.

ya girl is freezing in this photo & attempting to avoid eye contact with people who were watching me with my tripod which was hard because uh the direction I am turned here to my phone was also the general area where people were so I was facing them as I was taking this photo  - how i kept cheesing is a mystery 

In terms of my running life there are days where I wish I was faster but by focussing on my speed only in the 5K distance, I am missing out on these subplot running adventures: Running faster + covering more distance doing the No Time? Go Time! speed workout on the Nike Training App, conquering a hill that I've been sprinting up for 3 months and finally getting more greens than reds*, survived a few Fartlek runs (me and Fartlek have some tea, but I'll conquer it soon) etc. Through this running adventure, I've realized the subplots - the small victories - are puzzle pieces and once they connect, they lead to the faster runner I will become. 
green - means I went faster than my previous repetition of running up the hill
red - means I went slower than my previous repetiiton of running up the hill

Some imaginary times here of pacing for sprinting up a hill: 5:45 6:20 3:20 7:20 6:20 5:18
Of those times, there are three occasions where I went faster than my previous sprint and two occasions where I went slower than my previous sprint - does this make sense?

wow so serious - this book was about hymnology. i can confirm this book is not upside down.

Those subplots contribute to the main plot and by skimming right by them - in terms of reading hi we're back to discussing fictional adventures welcome back - you miss out on what lead to the main plot being the main plot. 

We all want things to happen instantly, as if we can click our shoes together and everything we've ever wanted will happen - unless Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz wants to give us her lucky red shoes, we're going to have to take it one subplot at a time to reach our main plot. 

Think of it as a ladder. The steps on the ladder? Those are your sub-plots. The top of the ladder i.e your destination? That's your main plot.

My advice would be to pay attention to those subplots and learn from them - they are essentially the building blocks to reach your main plot. You can't have one step of the ladder loosely screwed, right? Celebrate your small victories en route to your main plot, see why you didn't do so well at XYZ and learn from it,  and enjoy the journey that is your life one subplot at a time.
ok why do i look so short i promise im 5'5 and a half

This past weekend I raced my first USATF race of the season and all I can say is if someone can invent a hat that doesn't turn into a literal heater on my head as I keep running that would be great. In the beginning I'm thanking my hat for being on my head because of how cold it is (it was 21ºF | -6ºC) but once my body starts warming up that's when I'm ready to toss my hat, sweater and gloves off because suddenly I am a sauna personified.

ok now to the actual race tea!

Day Before the Race

The day before my first ever USATF (USA Track and Field) sanctioned event, I listened to a motivational podcast to calm down any nerves. So, I decided to keep with this tradition and opened Spotify and listened to Fearless Motivation - Motivation Podcast for most of the day before this race.  I constantly looked over at the race website to take a look at the details they had about the course: It was going to be a flat course- based on the map that seemed to be true - and professionally timed. Oh and also, you get a free mug for the first 300 Runners who passed the finish line so uh clearly I need more mugs for my collection that is overflowing - I'd like to thank the person who gave this mug idea.

Also, in terms of protein for the day before, I actually made something from Sophie over at - Lentil Ragu Recipe. The first time I made this, I made it with whole wheat pasta and this time that I made it I decided to have it with Freekeh. It tastes amazing, and if you need to spice up your day-before-race dinner, I'd really recommend giving it a try!

Day of the Race

So this day started hilariously (well, hilarious to think of now). I had about 3 massive cups of water before leaving the house - and as I started driving to the race location, about 10 minutes in my bladder decided to alert me of its existence. So for about the whole drive I was counting the minutes until I got to a bathroom.

The good thing is that when I got there there was a lot of parking spaces. The first parking lot was full when I got there, so I had to drive to a second parking lot that was a bit of a walk from the main place for registering. You'd think that as a runner I wouldn't mind this walking - and would treat it as a warm up - but, ya girl here needed a bathroom like I needed oxygen to breathe.

When I got to the doors of the place, there was a person at the front mentioning that on the top floor there was registration and on the second floor was where to get free shirts. Without missing a beat I replied 'and bathrooms?' - I swear my mom was laughing so hard behind me.

By the time I registered, everyone was already heading out to the start line so I didn't have enough time to properly warm up - tip for myself is to actually not snooze my alarm thinking 'oh I have time', I left a bit later from my house than I should have.

Actual Race

The race started with about .5 seconds of a flat section and suddenly the path went up a hill. Now, I've done hill sprints to prepare for any type of race course so this wasn't something I hadn't trained for before - I just wasn't expecting it. (In other words whoever said that it was a flat course I just wanna talk) I started off at a 6'26 pacing and started to feel like I had to conserve my energy better. I slowed down my pace to conserve and spread my energy throughout the 3.1 miles but the mistake I made was that I conserved it too much.

Throughout the race, I decided to "keep pace" with someone who was next to me. The thing that kept happening was that the person would either be too slow that I'd just pass and try to find someone else to keep pace with or the person is going at a pace where I felt I wouldn't finish strong. I decided mid-way to just go my own pace that felt comfortable and told myself that it was my race so going at pace with someone else is turning my race into someone else's.

I finished the first mile in 8:16, the second mile 9:00 and I'm not sure what the third mile was, actually. From that first mile I was strong, but by mile 2 and mile 3 I felt like I need to pull in the speed and spread it out better. 

Race Results

here we have a 30 minutes post race sahara who was warmed up after her race but since this photo was taken 30 minutes after the race I was not so warm & was turning into a popsicle - also people were playing ice hockey on the lake and not going to lie, I wanted to join

I finished it in 27:24:30 and placed 3rd in my age group! My previous race I finished in 27:57 (that's the unofficial time but the official time was 28:03) - so!! I went faster which I was really happy about. I felt more in control and comfortable during this race, maybe a little too comfortable but that's okay.

One piece of advice:
 It's better to run comfortable and in control than to run uncomfortable and out of control.

I've had faster training runs of the same distance and at first I was put off by the time I finished in. But something a friend of mine was saying was that this specific race doesn't determine how fast you can go. That's when I started to think of races in the same way as Standardized Tests. A standardized test does not determine your intelligence, I'm looking at you SAT (this is a Standardized test in the USA!) just as this race does not determine how fast I am capable of going.

My mom was so happy to hear that I placed when I told her and that's when I realized that I was looking at everything all wrong. I was nitpicking and saying everything I did not do, not immediately realizing that being able to run is a blessing in it of itself. I've been injured. I've been on the sidelines. And here I was healthy & able to run and exercise and now I'm being picky? It just didn't feel right to take away from the moment that this was for me. 

I walked away with a new 1K PR of 4:54, a faster 5K than my last, and with a stronger finish than my last.

Also I wasn't the only one who noticed it wasn't really ~flat~ as the website said! A few runners were chatting about how that was not a flat run at all but overall it wasn't too bad in terms of hills.

What I've Learned

I've learned that I'm more than just numbers on a chip time. Also, to enjoy every moment as it is and not think of what the moment is not. In terms of running training, I've come to the conclusion to run on paths that include hills. Up until this point, I have only been running on hills for hill sprints not necessarily on my 5K Sundays which are normally pretty flat.

So, I guess it's time I varied my running route, which is going to be interesting since I normally run the same exact path - so I'm all for changing scenery!

In terms of strength, I need to work more on my core strength and arm strength. My core could be better/stronger and my arms, well they're not noodles anymore but they could use a bit more work!

Overall, I'm really happy with how the race went down - oh, and yes yes yes I did get the mug!! I came in place 85th/287 Runners and 32nd Female/178 Female runners! - and also, by the looks of it, I'm going to have to figure out how to store my medals + bibs because just pilling them in a corner of my room is apparently not the right solution.