Slow and Steady Wins the Race (or at Least Finishes)

19 Apr

This past weekend I ran (well actually “slogged”) in my first 5k race.  My friends and me were hesitantly standing near the start line, wondering what on Earth we were thinking signing up for this.  The only motivators at the time were our iPods and hitting a bar for beer afterwards.  Oh, and finishing the race, of course and not being last (well, that was my motivator at least).

We started out well, all lined up together, united in our madness.  It soon became obvious, however, who had trained and who hadn’t.  The first one broke from the pack and soon disappeared into the crowd.  My second friend and I stayed close for a short while until her long legs propelled her in front of my short, stubby ones.  Damn genetics.

I did well at first.  Mile one came pretty fast and I thought this isn’t so bad.  Then came mile 2.  The mile marker seemed to take an eternity to appear.  My mind started torturing me, telling me, “You can’t do this.  Go ahead and walk.”  It was like the little devil in your ear.  Then the good angel appeared and said, “No, don’t walk.  Don’t quit.  Just keep playing songs…louder and faster.”

It worked.  The angel won.  I never realized what a head game running is.  The human body can handle it (unless you’re injured of course).  I wasn’t out of breath or sore while running.  My brain, however, was messing with me the entire time.  The negative thoughts kept creeping in and it took a lot of effort (and some loud kick-ass songs) to get rid of them.

I may not have finished first, but I certainly didn’t finish last.  I stayed slow and steady and somehow managed not to walk and finished.  The rush of crossing the finish line was enough to convince all of us to sign up for more races.  I now get the whole “runner’s high” thing.  It does exist and it’s sweet.  The beer and pizza after the race didn’t hurt either.

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