Sunday, November 17, 2013

About Time

In my travels I have raced quite a few races, and I’ve run a few as well.  

Each has distinct characteristics and the differences are as palatable as being a Runner versus a Jogger.  

Runners are serious. 
Joggers are jogging... 

One of my deepest fears is that I’ll be on a badass tempo run cranking out a 7:14 average one foggy morning, I’ll get run over by a car, and the newspaper will read: 

“Henrico Jogger Struck Friday Morning”.

Imagine.  Me?  A jogger?

Racing is something that runners get – When I race I am out there to beat (someone).  Usually, in my case, that someone is MYSELF.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not out to kick anyone else’s booty. 

Unless I’m in first place with less than a mile left to run.  In that rare condition, nothing I’ve written applies and I am out to beat EVERYONE.
Or if I am REALLY stressed.  Then I may decide that everyone wearing a red shirt is my prey.
Or if I am PISSED OFF.  Then I will hunt down anyone wearing a red shirt.
Or... redshirt...  it’s not my fault.  Red shirts make it easy, you know?

Running a race is less serious, however. 

That’s a fun event.  I’m certainly out on a racecourse with a bib#, but I might not be out there for me.  Or I might be using the race as a training run.  Or I could be having an off day, or getting over pneumonia, or any number of things that would lead me to just run instead of running at the edge of death.

I love running at the edge of death.  I love pushing my body to the end of my limits and listening to the air whistle as it forces it’s way out of my lungs.  The use of my cadence to dictate when the air is pulled in and expelled is like a drug.  I live for the mantra, “you didn’t run all this way to give up your race now”.

But Saturday I was not going out to run at the edge of anything.  For one thing, I didn’t exactly train.  I ran a bit, and tacked a few longish runs into my life periodically, and I didn’t taper as much as I took an entire week off from running.
Iron J, MCM Mama, GBA GF pre-race in the rain

This year was The Year of N+1.  My bike was my focus.  So Saturday I went out to run The Richmond Half Marathon with no expectation of EPIC.

My friend, Iron J, and her husband The Officer wanted to break 2 hours.  I wondered if I could keep up with them.  So the three of us set out to run a half marathon together in the rain.

Sadly, it became evident that he wasn’t going to be able to hang at the pace.  IronJ and I kept pulling ahead, simply because we were feeling amazing.  We would drop back and check with him, coach him, cheer him on, but to no avail.  It wasn’t going to be his day.

We looked back at some point and he just wasn’t there.

You know, Iron J...?
Yeah... I know... we can maybe still get it.

And so we kicked it into gear and tried to shave 4+ minutes off the second half of the race.  Not gonna lie.  We came damn close.  Damn close.

“GBA, how do you feel?”
“Well, this feels like Race Pace, not Chat Pace”

The joy of the day was NOT in my chip time, garmin time, or race time. 

This was not about time.

The satisfaction of the day was in the start corral with MCM Mama.  It was in the time spent on the course with Iron J & The Officer.  It was in sharing his ridiculous PR (I think about 15 minutes?!) and in the fun of running negative splits with Iron J as we hunted down a pack of (blue?) shirts. 
GBA GF & Iron J
It was realizing that Iron J is back in true form and ready to train again.  It was in seeing The Good Dr, my spectator, on the course, and knowing I am loved.  It was in the raindrops that soaked me at the start line, and the raindrops that soaked me at the finish line.

It was in remembering what it feels like to be a Galactic BadA**.

Could I have run a sub 2?

Oh yeah.

But did I need to run Sub 2 to prove to myself that I could run that fast, and potentially miss out on the chance to run with my friends and share the day?

Oh Hell No.

Saturday was about way more than that.

~savor the run~