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      Anne Cook: Celebrating the little victories

      This is the start gate at the River Bank Run. Literally 5,000 people in front of me waiting to cross the start line.

      This past weekend I ran the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids. It was a fun weekend with my mom as she did the 25k, an extremely difficult race as you run 15 miles at the pace at which youâ??d run 13 â?? and I did the 5k.

      Iâ??ve run 5k races before several times. But each time was for â??fun.â?? It was either a color run, a mud run, or a special event I was doing with friends. This was my first 5k purely for running and for time.

      And Iâ??ll be honest â?? it went really well. In races past Iâ??ve had that feeling of â??Why am I doing thisâ?? about 1.5 miles in but I didnâ??t have that this year. In fact, I even did the â??Iâ??ll sprint the last quarter of the mile because I have extra energyâ?? thing that I thought only the annoying over-achiever runners did.

      So, why, when I crossed the finish line, did panic set in instead of joy?

      If this race was any other time of the year I would have been thrilled with my performance. It was a PR (personal record) and I felt great.

      But I had this little voice in my head saying â??you know, in two weeks you have to run double this distance and everyone will be watching.â??

      That little voice ruined everything. When I met my mom at the finish line of her race, which she did great in by the way, she ran over and asked â??how did it go?!â?? and my first response was â??well Bayshore is going to be tough.â??

      So why do we let ourselves do that? Why canâ??t I just enjoy what was a great moment, a great sign of progress over the 2012 version of me?

      Sure, part of it is a good thing. Itâ??s good that I didnâ??t just let up â?? that I am forcing myself to work hard to try and do just as well at Bayshore in two weeks. But thereâ??s also a part thatâ??s not so good.

      If you go through your whole life not enjoying the little victories youâ??re going to live a pretty miserable life. You have to allow yourself to live in those moments of happiness â?? even if itâ??s just while youâ??re making your way through the corral at the finish line. You have to keep things in perspective. The fact is, I demolished the 2012 version of Anne at that race. And that 2012 version would never have even signed up for Bayshore â?? let alone be thinking about her time and pace for a 6 mile race.

      So Iâ??m going to force myself to enjoy these last days of training. Regardless of my performance at Bayshore, Iâ??ve already made great strides towards becoming the runner that I want to be. And thatâ??s an awesome little victory.