Oh What FUN It Is to RUN!

Delirious. That’s the only word I can think of to describe my mental state when I suggested me and a few of my fellow pace group mates, run the PGRC Fun Run 5K. It was so out of character in fact, that right after I said it, even I had to step outside of myself and ask “Who ARE you?”  By then it was too late.  My pace mates, albeit with a sideways glance, had already agreed. Oh crap!

I have no idea where these sudden bursts of inspiration come from. Some days I feel like I could run a marathon with energy to spare. Other days, I feel like if I run to the corner and back I’m going to have a coronary.  Needless to say, THAT day, I was feeling like a marathon.  So of course, on race day, I was feeling more like a coronary and in what can only be described as 99% humidity to boot.   I immediately regretted opening my big mouth.

The race begins, and the first quarter mile or so, isn’t quite so bad.  I had a decent pace going. My breathing was steady and even. I was convinced I just might make it through this thing without having to stop.  And then I noticed a stampede of “more experienced” runners passing me by.  The keyword being “more experienced” runners.  The sheer act of passing me by in my twisted, obviously oxygen deprived mind, was a declaration of war.  Suddenly, I was competing!

So I took off like a shot.  All prior plans to take it slow and just finish, went out the door.  I suddenly wanted to run with the big kids.  Somewhere I’d say around the half mile mark,  things started to go terribly wrong.  That steady and even breath I was so  proud of was gone.  I sounded like a busted steam engine and I still had a full lap and some change to go.   Uh oh!

It took everything in me not to quit.  In fact it was the consummate competitor in me that kept me in the race.  Clearly I wasn’t going to catch any of the people who blew by me.   So I set new goals and focused on what I believed to be the oldest runners out there.  A man, who I’m sure was at least twice my age, if not more. And a woman, who was quite motherly looking and ran at a pace that suggested she wasn’t in any rush.  Between the two of them surely youth alone would ensure victory, right?

So imagine my surprise when the  old guy blew right by me.   All I could think was “Show off!” I didn’t have the energy to yell it or I would have fallen dead on the spot.   But I still had the woman. There is no way, (really, this time) she’s going to beat me!   So imagine my surprise when she somehow gets ahead of me and crosses the finish line, still moving at that same steady pace barely breaking a sweat. And me,  falling across the finish line behind her looking like I’d just run through a car wash and breathing like a St. Bernard!

To my credit, I wasn’t THE last person to finish that day. But when you’re sandwiched between the oldest guy running and someone who started at least 10 minutes late, it really puts your performance in perspective!

But on a serious note, it was an excellent opportunity to gauge my progress over the last 4 months.  Looking back, there is no way in HELL I would ever have made it around that course once let alone twice.  And it’s people like the old guy and the mother with the steady pace, that let’s me know that age does not equal ability and that young grasshoppers still need to learn to crawl, before they can run.

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