I’m trying to get my breathing under control when I notice a woman barrelling down on me in the distance.
I immediately kick it into high gear.
Up until this point I was running at my happy pace – not too fast, not too slow.
Lately I have been feeling crazy strong with my training.
So you know, I do what most runners do when they have two injury-free months – sign up for a 30-K road race.
Truthfully after I paid the entry fee for Eyeball The Wall at the South Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary. I had questioned my sanity.
My longest run this year has been a slow 24K. I am not in “racing” shape and I was not convinced my body would hold up for three hours of pounding on asphalt.
I had a simple plan.
I did what most runners do when they are worried about failing or not reaching a goal. (Seriously it’s a thing.) I told everybody I was running for fun and the mileage would count as training for the Iron Legs 50-Miler in August.
That way my butt is covered if I run a crappy race because “it was just for training” and I would impress the masses with my kick ass performance, if my legs did not give up.
I was super nervous about the potential beating that my body would endure. Most of all, I didn’t want to undo all the recovery work that has got me running again.
I knew I had to run smart and to listen to my body. It made no sense to ‘give it my all’ for a training run.
Being sidelined for another running season is my biggest fear.
And let’s be honest here, I never really “race” anyone but myself. I like to push myself and set new personal records.
But I would be lying if I didn’t say I will scan the race entry list to see who is in my category.
A little competition didn’t hurt anyone but this was not a race. It was for training.
So here I am three kilometres from the finish line and I am suddenly “racing.” I told myself I would not let anyone pass me, especially a woman, until I reached the finish line.
I repeated my usual motto – it is only three more kilometres of your life, three more kilometres of your life.
I left that woman in the dust and I let up on my pace. I started thinking about how good I was feeling and how I managed to maintain a reasonable pace.
At the 28K mark, I was contemplating pushing it to the finish line. Simply put, I was overheated and I had enough and the sooner it was over, the better.
Around the same time, I ran into a running friend who told me, I looked strong and happy. I said, ‘you know what, I am strong and happy.’
So I bid him goodbye and ran my fastest two kilometres of the race. But … I swear it was just training.
(Because I know you’re wondering … my time was 2:53, which was good enough for 96th out of 263 runners and 34th out of 142 female runners. And nobody passed me in those last three kilometres.)
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