When I signed up for this 10k about a month ago, my only goal was to finish in less than an hour. It wasn't a lofty goal. But it was a goal I knew I would have to work for since before then my training plan had been Run A Few Miles Whenever You Feel So Moved. As you might assume, I did not often Feel So Moved.
But there's something about having a finish line - literally or figuratively - to work for that makes the work more pressing, so I laced up my sneakers regularly over the past few weeks. It was a sobering, clunky journey. Were there a movie made of the past month of training, it would look nothing like Rocky. It would look more like Liz Lemon Stumbles Down That Road Over There.
The sobering, clunky moments did not end in the training era of this goal. They came to visit again in Mile 6 yesterday. Up to that point, I felt great. I was keeping a steady pace and was thankful for the light mist of rain - not only does it help to keep cool, it just makes you feel cool, like you're that much more hardcore for running in the rain.
(I'll take my cool points wherever I can get them.)
However, as I began to run straight uphill during a large portion of Mile 6, I began to wonder what sadistic race planning committee had cooked this up if I was going to be able to marshal enough steam to finish in my goal time.
And then a man running with a double stroller passed me. Seriously.
(And then my cool points ran away, laughing.)
I would have thought it a low point, but when then I remembered that a man with a full-size American flag, complete with pole, stuffed down his pants had passed me during the half-marathon, it seemed minute in comparison.
So I plowed on - emphasis on plowing - and remembered that it really is true: what goes up most come down. And down I came for another half mile or so, and ran across the finish line with just a few seconds to spare.
My official time: 59:37.
And you know what it didn't say?
59:37 And She Kind Of Looked Like A Gorilla On Roller Skates Throughout The Duration Of Training.
59:37 And She Started Training Way Too Late To Make A Reasonable Go At A Decent Time.
59:37 And She Got Passed By A DOUBLE STROLLER Going Up A Hill.
It just said 59:37.
And that was all I wanted! That was my goal!
It was a healthy reminder that the getting-there process of goal achieving doesn't have to be pretty. You just have to get there, one clumsy step after another.
This weekend, I'm running again, but it's for an even better cause than Oh My Word Get Back In Shape Already goal achieving. It's for Love Runs, a remote 5k created by Ally Vesterfelt, who is donating her 30th birthday in the hopes of raising $30,000 to build a classroom for kids in Uganda through Restore International. Want to help Ally achieve her goal and run it, too?! Of course you do!
Here's more information:
If you'd like to sign up, you can do so here.
Thanks for doing this, Ally! I'm so excited to participate!