The Baltimore 10-miler was yesterday. I started and finished with two amazing women, both of whom inspire me to dig deep and step up to the next level. I will admit now that I really wanted to bail on this race. The odds were not good that this would be a “good” race. It was hot (never my favorite), I was tired (a long week at work with far too little sleep), and my training since Cherry Blossom has been erratic. Oh, and the end of the course is a series of tough hills. Any one of those excuses would have been sufficient to take a pass.
The reality is that I didn’t want to run a race where I was going to be disappointed in my time. My ego wants to see an ever-improving speed trend, not a glad-I-finished result.
Fortunately I had made a commitment to ride to the race and run with friends. My husband had offered to make a post-run breakfast for us. And then -that final straw-I read that Facebook post from the organizers,”…Remember Saturday is not about the finish line. It’s about the courage of stepping up to the start line…”
So I stepped up to the starting line, friends beside me. We each had different goals for the run. Mine were simple: run the whole race and finish the race with your friends.
Mission accomplished. One friend set a 10-mile PR, and – if her pre-race comments are to be believed – ran a pace 30 seconds below what she expected. The other pushed through the late hills after only minimal training, and even then with a max distance of 5 miles. It was an honor to run with them by my side.
So what’s next? Actually, I was supposed to have my first long slow run with the marathon training group on Saturday, but ran my 10 miles in the race instead. I couldn’t have scripted a better way to start my training. Not with a great PR finish, but with having the courage to step up to the starting line.
“It is very rewarding to feel and see progress. I am going to put my head down and keep plugging away. I believe the best is yet to come.” –Shalane Flanagan, 2nd woman finisher at the 2010 New York City Marathon