Sunday, March 15, 2015

Going for Gold

The starting line was vacant as I sat in my dry, warm, comfortable car listening to the rain pounding down, daunting me to give up now and go home. 

Ten minutes before race start, it was like magic...

Just like the end of an awesome game of hide-and-seek, runners of all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities appeared out of nowhere; strategically they had been hidden in coves, corners, and cars sheltering themselves from the downpour of rain until the very last moment. 

I sat and watched the people, the rain, and the clock in my car tick the minutes by. Two minutes before the gun, I took a hit off my Abuterol inhaler and left my serenity. 

I was running naked; stripped of my ideal sunny, dry running weather. I was wearing none of my normal accessories of my wedding ring, earrings, and makeup, substituting them for a rain jacket and a plastic zip-lock bag as my phone's carrying case. I was out of my element, but I would not melt in the rain. 

"Don't think; just go" was my mantra for the day.  As I ran, I found myself sucking for air. I was pushing myself hard while thinking the faster I ran the sooner I would be done and out of the rain. I also wanted to run a qualifying time for a Yellow seeding start in Bloomsday.  It would require everything I had and even then I would be cutting it close.

I focused on my form and breath as I increased my pace. I turned up the tunes on my new playlist and focused on keeping my footfalls with the music's tempo as I ran up the inclines. 

Like most races, I found myself running next to a loud runner: a runner with loud, heavy steps, or extra loud breathing, or music I can hear, or non-stop loud-talking with a friend.... 

Then, it hit me. I wasn't running next to anyone. The extra loud breather was me! Oh God, I really am sucking wind!  And as the miles past, it didn't get any better.

Pushing into the finish I was watching my time. I was going to miss my cut off! As I rounded the last bend, I sprinted to the finish (which really was a regular running speed for everyone around me). I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch.  I couldn't believe it. It was too close to call! I'd have to wait for the official results to see if I ran in under 47 minutes to qualify.

So, I waited and waited for what felt like an eternity for when the official results were to be posted. I stretched, texted people, and talked to others I knew. Then, the moment came. The moment of truth. A row of paper was hung on the wall and I quickly joined the flock of people searching for their results. I found my name on the sheet and read my time: 46:48! I made it with 12 seconds to spare! Talk about cutting it close!

Looking back now, it was dumb for me to run. I was sick with an upper respiratory tract infection and my asthma was rightfully angry. I would advise others to do as I say, not as I do. Maybe someday I'll start taking my own advice....

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