On a whim I decided to run a race today with the goal of finishing without feeling like I was near death and preparing myself psychologically for a Fall racing season if there is to be one for me.  I’ve been battling my brain all summer, and I just haven’t felt race-ready at all.

So, it was an experiment.

It was a gorgeous venue – the canal towpath along the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side.  I love running there and I haven’t been in quite some time.  The race was smallish but the amenities were not. Huge, marathon-sized medals for all and first-class plaques for the age-group awards.  They had a spread of food like I’ve never seen – burgers, pasta, chips, and other hot foods which unfortunately I couldn’t stomach after the 15k run in 80-degree heat at 5 in the afternoon (a first for me).

I did okay.  I’ve had this all-or-nothing mentality lately that pounds inside my head and tells me if I can’t win then I should just sit down and forget the whole fucking thing.  And I haven’t been in winning condition for awhile – physically or mentally.

So I started in the back of the pack and let a whole lot of people pass me.  And then I passed some myself, but it wasn’t enough to place or even finish with the bulk of the crowd.  I told myself it was okay.  My asthma kicked up, of course, in those weather conditions, and since I had decided to run without music, I got to listen to that wheezing nonsense the whole way.  But I intentionally kept the pace at a challenging but manageable place, and I think I got the confidence boost I so desperately needed.  I also got bitten by the competitive bug, which I think is a good thing.  Next year, I told myself…

Since I wasn’t trying to push till I puked, I did manage to take in some of the stunning scenery around me.  Just beautiful.  And it helped me relax, too.

I’m at an interesting point in this athletic journey.  As with Life, it’s such a head game.  Coach quietly let me suffer through the last few months, but I think he always knew I still had some stubbornness left in me.

I don’t think I’m done quite yet…

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