I can’t write about how this race went before I write about another. Last month at a 10k in Sarasota, I saw her at the finish. “I know that chick! She trains with my boot camp.” I went up to her and said hi and we started talking about running and upcoming plans. Not surprisingly, as my boot camp coach is a professional arm twister, she and I were doing the same race and distance in a month. I hesitated, then I decided to just go for it.
“Can I run it with you? Will you help me PR?”
I told her my 10k time, my previous 8k time, and you guessed it, she said yes! “We’re gonna have to run about a 9:45 min/mile to do it,” she says. “Okay!” I replied cheerily. We parted ways and I skipped off to my car. Birds were chirping and all that cliche crap.
What. Did. I. Just. Do.
If that reaction surprises you, read this. Also, this. If you’re already familiar with my neuroses, please continue.
Not gonna lie – it was nice wondering if I would make it to the finish line of St. Anthony’s. It gave me less time to worry about potentially disappointing someone or looking like a fool. Life > Ego every time. Since that race ended like this,
my ego took center stage.
Race day arrives and now I am nervous for an entirely different reason. I saw her in the parking lot almost as soon as I arrived. “Hi!” We walked together toward our tent where we met about 180 of our closest friends. She asked me if I was excited and I pretended. Y’all already know, hah! I confessed that I was nervous, but she said I would be great. “You don’t know me!” I thought to myself. Onward.
“Okay God. We’re not racing for that long today – just one leg. Imma need you for about 50 minutes and then – well, Imma need you for other stuff after that but let’s just get through this first. Amen.”
“Joanie.” She brought me out of my intense thought/panic/prayer. “You look nervous.” “I know!” I replied. “I don’t want to disappoint you!” “Me? Forget about me – what about you?” I knew she was right. “Okay. But what happens on the course stays on the course,” I answered.
I started my watch as I crossed the timing mat. I decided then that I wasn’t going to look at my watch unless it was screaming at me that my heart rate was too high. I trusted her to lead me to my goal. “Joan. You can’t punk out. Just keep her close and you’ll be good.” And keep her close, I did.
Then they came. The hills.
I had done the 5k course of Miles For Moffitt last year but I had not remembered it being quite so hilly. I just remember being 10 pounds lighter than I had been for my first 5k and just prancing through the 3.1 miles to my first PR that wasn’t from a virgin distance. Good times. But daaaaaaaamn I was feeling it today! “Joan you ain’t no punk! It will be over in uh. 3 miles. Then 2 miles. This is just 20 more minutes of your life.” Meanwhile, she’s telling me I’m doing great. We had agreed to walk through the water stops and every time I saw one – even from a distance – I felt relieved. I would take even a *tiny* bit of respite. I wish I were kidding, but I even thought to myself, “if I don’t PR I’m gonna be mad that I can’t blog about it! Keep. Going.”
We arrive at mile 4 and I think okay, almost there. I got ticked off by a volunteer who gave the most lame yay I’ve ever heard in my life. “Your ass is just standing there. Do better,” I thought. Saw the C.W. Young building and my mind drifted briefly to District 13. “I want to win this race! Focus!” “Is that the last turn ahead?” I asked. “It sure is!” She said cheerily. “Then we finish!”
Tired as I was, I smiled and tried to look triumphant for the finish line paparazzi. I saw the time on the official race clock and raised a brow. I was unsure of the gap between my gun time as my chip time. We crossed and I gave her a hug. “Did we make it?”
“Not quite,” she replied.
I couldn’t help feeling a *little* bummed. I ran the hardest I could, after all.
But Wait! I ran the hardest I could. The music teacher was already changing her tune when she spoke. “So yeah, I didn’t want to tell you, but that was a really hard race to try to PR on. Not only is it relatively hilly but it starts late, so it is really humid. Plus, the course was a little long.” She showed me her Garmin, and indeed, it was a tad long. Examination of my own showed an even longer distance than hers.
Do I wish I PR’d? It would have been nice. Am I upset? Hell no! I feel great! Real talk? I won before I even started just for asking for help with a goal. I did my best in less than ideal conditions and with less than ideal nutrition (party on, birthday girl). Moreover, it turned out my thankfulness was returned! She told me she would have been tempted to run much more slowly than she could had I not asked her.
I guess I’m saying that the business regarding believing in yourself and taking risks that I spend 50+ hours a week sharing with students is true. Who. Knew. 😉
Thank you, Christine, for a wonderful day! I’m glad you were the first – I hope we can do it again, and I actually mean it! Yay!