Tonight I went for my last run before my first race.
If you’ve been following along (and apologies to the readers who aren’t all about the running blogs) then you know that I’ve been dealing with major bouts of discouragement lately.
I think it’s all a consequence of this being my first race and being nervous, being a relatively novice runner, and generally just doubting myself like crazy because the only other runners I know are all super-human iron triathletes. Did I mention I am the opposite of athletic and never ran before a few months ago?
Comparisons are so cruel.
Today at work, my trainer (who has yet to be paid in real currency) approached and told me that it was not, in fact, too late to squeeze in one last run before the race. “Just do an easy two-miler,” he said. OK. Not sure what’s easy about running two miles but I’ll give it a shot. That is, I’ll give it a shot assuming I can make it work on many other fronts.
And here I was beginning to think that I he had abandoned me as a trainee. That wouldn’t be surprising as I’m sure it can’t be easy for the skilled to lead and guide the clueless. Slowing down so another can begin to catch up can be a pain in the ass. Still, it was encouraging to here that he thought I could do this “easy” run. It was also a bonus to know he had been reading my blog (and thus boosting my stats).
In fact, when I headed out tonight I had a plan. That made things a bit easier. Last week another friend had posted about running 2 miles in 17 minutes. This, too, contributed to me being demoralized. Tonight I figured I could try for 2 miles or 17 minutes. My thought was that 17 minutes would probably get me within striking distance and then I could just walk the rest. So I flipped through the music on my phone and found a Donna Summer song that runs 17:48. Starting the music and my tracking app at the same time, I hit the pavement.
Guess when I hit 2 miles…
God bless those coked up disco singers and their musical genius! Somewhere in Germany in the late 1970’s, Giorgio Moroder knew that one day I’d need the perfect song to help me keep time. “I know,” he said to his sound engineer. “Do a little of this here blow and let’s go to town!” Almost 20 minutes later… the perfect running companion.
What was really cool – even cooler than an 8:58 consistent pace – was the fact that I knew, after walking about a half-block, that I could have resumed running at a decent pace and hit the 5K mark in respectable time.
Last week’s failed mile-high mile must have been some kind of fluke. OK, it wasn’t a fluke. I’m a novice runner. I look at my trainer and think “I want to be that good, to be the kind of guy who can run without breaking a sweat and do it fast and I don’t want to wait 15 years to get there.” I can’t take shortcuts and I have to accept that I’m not that good and/or that I might not have what it takes to reach the goal. But that little encouragement from him this morning went a long way; definitely more than he realized.
That, and MacArthur Park.