My friend, Eileen, was just ahead of me, and she slowed her pace so she could run with me for a bit. 1st mile was good. Imagine my surprise when dude called out 9:35 at the mile mark....11 seconds off my previous pace! I was in good shape to finish under 30. Then WHAMMO. The entire upper portion of my abdomen felt like it was under a vice-grip. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't concentrate...holy stitch Batman. I couldn't stretch it out, I couldn't breathe it out. I had to do walk. Then, when I started walking, ligaments started snapping over my ankle bone. Not an uncommon thing, but not an easy thing to deal with. It would have been okay if I could just relax my entire body, but the pain in my stomach combined with the pain in my ankles...all I could think of was "Well Shit. How in the hell am I going to finish?" I even dropped a few choice cuss words, and I apologize to all those around me...it was a family friendly event after all
Thankfully, Eileen stayed with me. She didn't have too and I felt bad that she did, I mean, she gave up her own race because she was worried about me. Don't get me wrong, I'm THANKFUL she did, because I don't know if I would have kept going if it was for her. Then we made it to the around-3-mile-mark. At that point you can hear the finish line. Everything magically went away for a second. It was like I felt my legs working for the first time in 30 minutes, and we crossed that wonderful red line...in 32:50-something.
Not the best morning. And I was very disappointed I didn't beat my PR. And then after some reflection, I've come to a conclusion and I said to myself "DUDE! You're still a beginner. You're still figuring this all out, and it takes longer than less than a year of running on a treadmill and 2 small races in the past 2 months. Cut yourself some slack!" So I've made up my mind to focus on the positive:
1) I finished. Looking back, I should be proud for finishing. You see, my abdomen is still in pain. Something must not have been right if it's still being ornery. And I still finished.
2) A hug from a running mate always makes things better.
3) I got a cool shirt.
4) It was another experience that brings me another step closer to being a runner.
So...when's the next one?