Those who know me, and in particular those who have seen my closet, know that I have a fair amount of t-shirts.
I can’t remember the last time I bought a t-shirt, but I sure do have a lot of them. On this one shelf (not all pictured) there are 81. I counted. After tidying them up for the picture.
They have a variety of origins – gifts, giveaways, events, races, and the occasional (way back when) purchase – but mostly they’re from races. Run a race? You get a shirt! You get a shirt? Add it to the shelf! And then you kind of rotate through them, with some getting more attention than others, owing to factors like a good design, a better fit, and that it’s easier to grab the ones near the top.
This past Sunday was a two t-shirt day, as in, I got two new shirts to add to the collection. The reason was that I did a 5K, which naturally came with getting a t-shirt, and then after the race they gave me another t-shirt as part of the award…for winning the race!
I usually don’t make a big deal about accomplishments, and part of me, as I’m writing this, wonders if I’ll actually post this when I’m done, but what the hell :). I haven’t written a race recap in a while, and I felt good and had a good time doing it, as in I was enjoying it while I was running. So here we go!
First as a disclaimer, I would say that yes, my current running fitness is pretty good, but it’s also not at the level that would typically win a race. Usually even in a smaller race like this one, there’s a handful of people who will go faster than the 19+ minutes I did. I also didn’t enter it because I had visions of winning. I entered because my brother was doing it and it would be another opportunity go see him and his family. Running it could also confirm where I was at running-wise; in the past month or two, I feel like I’ve been getting back into it, enjoying it more again and feeling like I want to keep building it up.
All things considered, my finishing position at the end was a highlight, since it’s a pretty rare thing for me end up there, but what else stood out? Mostly it was the process, which is to also say the story, the guts of it.
While warming up and then standing at the start, my mindset this time was actually better than it usually is. I was pretty successful at staying relaxed and not worrying about it. I don’t do too many races, but often there’ll be a time right before the start that involves some focused worries about ‘not doing well’ or ‘not running good enough’ (‘what if I can’t do it?’, ‘what if I don’t go fast enough,’), which are typical and understandable thoughts but also ones I could a little more without. Butterflies are good, but to a point.
A minute or two after the start, the field settled, and the following became clear: there were only two people in front of me, they were at most five seconds in front of me, and we were going about the same pace. My basic, non-winning and relaxing-but-still-pushing-it-a-little plan going into the race was simply to stay calm and collected and go slightly faster than would feel comfortable. And there I was, doing that, and near the front. Which then produced a minute or two of the old worry…what if I keep this up? what if I pass them and take the lead? what if I can’t do it after that???
And then I was like, Whatever, I’m just going to keep doing my thing. We passed the first mile mark at just over six minutes, with me still a few seconds behind and feeling good, and then the guy in second slowed his pace just slightly. I had a brief moment where I thought, I could just hang back, not take a chance, and run with this guy, and then the moment passed, and I passed him. And then I was up behind the guy in front, who now also was slowing. The thought repeated itself, but this time in more of a split-second format, and I passed him. It was about seven or eight minutes in, and I never looked back.
I kept going at my pace and my original plan, and it flew by. I noticed that being in front also seems to get you more cheers, but not considerably more than say, two years ago, when I last did the race and did it at a more modest pace, while pushing my niece in the Bob. I led in the stroller division that day and remember getting a equal amount of “Go Dad!” cheers from the people watching and “Go faster Uncle D! You’re not going fast enough!” statements from the four-year old getting the free ride.
My brother pushed his other, younger daughter in the Bob this time, and a highlight of the race this year came a little over two miles in, as the route made a left turn past the corner where my sister-in-law and my now six-year old niece were standing.
“Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D! Uncle D!”
I think that’ s an exact quote.
Plus or minus.
And then before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. And my thoughts went from, I’m doing this, to, I did it 🙂
What if I can do it. What if I believe in myself. What if I keep doing my own thing and keep enjoying it. What if what if becomes more of memory.
It was a good run, and one of more to come.