Today was RACE DAY. It was a painful, cold, demoralizing, cold, sleep-deprived, cold experience. But… it was also kind of awesome.
Let me start at the beginning. Today was the first ever 5K Runway Run at La Guardia Airport. We actually ran on the runway while planes were taking off. Pretty darn cool. Today was also my first race ever in a half-baked effort to become one of those runners other people eye enviously. It’s not going so well but that’s a tale for another time.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this story. At times, I was cursing myself. Like when the alarm went off at 7 a.m. this morning. And when I was standing around shivering my butt off waiting for the race to start. And when I was pushing myself to run as fast as I could towards the finish line even though my lungs were yelling, “I hate you!” And yet, despite all that, I felt a thrill. I felt alive. I felt like I was part of something both silly and special. And, perhaps most importantly, I learned some things.
What did I learn?
THE POWER OF THE BLOG
When my alarm went off this morning I wanted so desperately to hit the off button and go back to sleep. But then I thought about the legions of loyal readers expecting a detailed blow by blow of my public humiliation. The thought of disappointing you was more painful than crawling out of bed. So crawl out of bed I did. Thank you.
THE POWER OF COMPETITION
I was not fast. Out of 572 runners, I was #358 – not even average. But I was fast for me. I pushed myself, and it hurt. It hurt a lot. I finally crossed the finish line after 34 minutes and 38 seconds, or a pace of 11:09/mile. Compared to the guy who finished in 16 minutes and 24 seconds, I’m a heaping pile of patheticness, but compared to my normal heaping pile of patheticness, I’m practcially a super hero. Even though my time didn’t actually matter – it’s not like I was trying to set a new PR – the simple act of running in a race made me run faster. And when it was all over, I wondered if I could do better. Don’t hold your breath, but there might be hope for me yet.
IT TAKES ALL KINDS
Yes, it certainly does. There were your classic hardcore runners – the folks who darted to the front of the line when the announcer called for all people who plan on running a five minute mile pace or under; the lean runner types whose can fit both their thighs into one of my tree trunks; the guy who looked like he just ran all the way from Kenya and said, “what the heck, I’ll do this race too.” But then there were people who walked the whole thing, parents who brought their kids, a woman who ran the whole race in bunny ears and a puffy tail. And then there was a girl who, despite the cold and the unforgiving wind, wore a sports bra, shorts, and – wait for it – gloves! The point is: It didn’t matter that I felt sluggish or that I had no clue what I was doing. I fit right in.
RUNNING ON A RUNWAY IS AWESOME
The pictures speak for themselves.