I was regarding it as a training opportunity, not a competition, but still I ended up doing better in the more competitive moments of the race. This happened several times throughout the time I was there, but most notably at the end.
What happened, you ask? What are you talking about?
This is it: Some people would be way behind me and apparently decide that passing me was going to make them feel better. I could hear them coming up on me, jogging along, speeding up, feet flapping on the pavement, and when they would get barely past me, like 5 paces beyond, they would slow down.
I would think, Are you kidding me? And of course, then, being the slightly competitive person I am, I would jog past them. But because I'm not a jerk, and also because I was really appalled at their behavior, I wouldn't stop when I got barely in front of them, but keep going and going and going.
I want to ask Madame L, "What's wrong with these people?" But I know the answer: They're just thoughtless jerks who are trying to push themselves to do better.
And one more thought about it: Because I was regarding it as a training opportunity, most of the time I was able to focus on my breathing, pacing myself, and figuring out how to do better next time. Still, when I found out I came in fourth in my category, less than 4 minutes after the one who came in third, I realized that I *need* to do much better next time. (And BTW she was one of the ones who passed me like that, after I'd stopped to help a runner who was pushing a baby stroller with her fussy 8-month-old baby. Snark.) Anyway, eventually I'll want to finish in less than 1-1/2 hours, like the woman who finished first in my category.
I've already signed up for two upcoming half-marathons, and for these next ones I'll be running with a friend who has already had lots of experience with running events, including a marathon. We won't be staying together---she's way faster than me---but we'll be a support for each other at the beginning and end. And maybe we'll even get to do some training together in coming weeks.
|Only a few hundred yards to go, and after Jason took this, he ran alongside me to encourage me to keep running, even though I was more beat than I remember being ever before in my whole life. And it worked. Thank you!|