The greatest obstacles are in our head: a race report
Monday, September 10, 2012
Coming back from my summer slump I have done three 10K’s.
The first 1 was awful. I hadn’t been running consistently and gained several pounds over vacation. End of July- it was so freakin hot!!! Then my MP3 died half-way. I felt so sluggish and heavy but mostly discouraged, beat, defeated. Of course, all this is mostly in my head but soon enough my body got the message. I stopped to walk twice. I NEVER walk! Of course, not my best time but I didn’t care- I just wanted it to be over.
The following 10K, I had MP3 issues again, but got over it early on. It was hot too, direct sunlight hitting me a good portion of the way but then clouds thankfully. A long steady hill almost killed me at 8K but I pushed through and didn’t stop at all throughout the course. My time was not impressive but I felt much better with my effort than the previous race, although I still struggled with negative thoughts at times. Why do I torture myself like this?
Now yesterday’s race with all its obstacles reminded me that it’s all in our head. The race took place at my mom’s hometown about 1.5 hour drive away from my house. I stayed with her during the weekend, and it wasn’t until 30 minutes before the race start (she lives like 2 minutes from the start) that I realized I had left my running shoes at home. After getting mad then sad then mad again, I decided to use my mom’s- one whole size and a half smaller. Oh yes. I am crazy. My poor toes!!! I took it in stride- literally- and went for it. What’s the worst that could happen? If I hurt too much, I’ll stop. So in the midst of my shoe ordeal- it started raining, I mean POURING. We warmed up and lined up in pouring cold rain. A nice refreshing shower is one thing and a DOWNPOUR is another! So off I went, soaking wet in the pouring rain, in tiny shoes, without my usual MP3/music. At first I was kind of freaking out; all I could think about was having to pee and my sore feet. The heavy rain kept on for at least 2K, then gradually stopped. I found my stride and was in the zone. Forgot about everything. I was enjoying the crisp cool weather, the energetic and supportive crowds, the beautiful scenery. I even appreciated the several hills that brought variety and mini-challenges to the route. I didn’t feel the need or desire to stop. Most importantly, I felt good. Proud. Strong. I felt that running JOY that I had lost for a while. When I crossed that finish line I proved to myself that we are the only ones who can put limits on ourselves and we are the only ones who can break them. Obstacles make victory that much sweeter! And what do you know? I placed 2nd in my age group! Imagine had I worn my size 8 1/2 s!!!
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. Hillary, Sir Edmund
As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way. Emerson, Ralph Waldo