Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I Did It*
Time after time, I had been told to pace myself at the start of a run. Start out slower, then build momentum as it progresses. However, as soon as the gun sounded, I was all but at a full sprint. It felt good to be passing people left and right, but I paid for my enthusiasm, big time. Less than halfway into the run, I was shot. My legs felt like lead.
The whole way, I had a wingman ... a wingperson, if you will. Less than a mile in, instructor Crystal Joyner -- the original Attila herself -- started peppering me with encouragement. I talked to myself, and Crystal answered.
I told myself, "Rick, do not stop and walk."
Don't talk like that. Do not use the word "walk" again.
OK, try this on for size. "Rick, do not stop and quit."
Stop it. No matter what you do, keep going.
As we turned onto the last residential street, I felt like I was almost at a stagger. I did not say it out loud -- the Lord only knows how Crystal would've reacted if I had -- but I thought to myself for the first time that it would be OK if I did not finish in less than 30 minutes. There was almost a mile left and a hill that seemed easy enough running down, but going back up this late in the ballgame felt almost impossible.
It didn't matter to Crystal, not in the least.
I know you don't want to hear this, but you've got to pick up the pace if you're going to finish in less than 30 minutes.
There was no way I could have gone any faster than I already was. I was toast. Even with Crystal's encouragement, I was this close to stopping and walking. But then I saw the finish line. I had a choice to make. I could stop, walk and catch my breath or I could keep moving one leg in front of the other. I knew that if I could see the finish line, Adam and Jesse could see me.
And after coming this far, I did not want them to see me walking.
I crossed the finish line, utterly pooped. On my iPhone, I clocked in 29:26. Officially, my chip time was 29:48 and gun time 29:58. That's cutting it as close as it could possibly be cut. Still, it was under 30 minutes, right?