|Andre Vandal, Flickr|
I already knew that running is a humbling sport. It has been humbling me ever since I started. The first humbling realization was that my asthma would forever present itself as an obstacle. The second one was that injuries of all sorts await those who run regularly. The third one is that no one looks their best sweating, spitting, huffing and puffing, grimacing in pain. (That being said, I find that runners look GREAT when they're not running. They just have that healthy aura.)
Slowly but surely, I learned how to manage my weaknesses (and to ignore the way I look when I run), so that long distance running could become and remain part of my life.
Eventually, everyone in the family, including myself, started considering me as a "true runner". It inspired some to join in the fun. I could only rejoice that they would want to become runners too. The only thing, right from the start, they were running faster than me! D, who probably runs once a month, registered for a 10K... and ran it 2 minutes faster than me. I "blame" his long legs (he's 6'1''). R, who only runs when the game she's playing calls for it (e.g. tag), ran her first 5K only 1 minute slower than I ran my first 5K. Small detail, I was 33 years old at the time of my first 5K. She was 9 when she ran hers at the same pace. I "blame" good genes (her dad's most likely).
This weekend, after a summer of occasional, leisurely-paced 5K jogs, I ran a 10K race I obviously wasn't properly trained for. My last race dates back to a half-marathon in May. Crazy idea to register for a 10K race after a slacker summer, but I figured it would be a good way to get my motivation back up.
Considering my level of training, it went okay. I ran it in exactly an hour, and came 61st out of 175 in my category. Since I'm among the oldest of said category (women 30-39, and I'm 37), I thought well, that's acceptable I guess.
I did, however, have to face many humbling moments at that race, that put whatever extra self-esteem I had back in its place.
"This is torture, this is pain..."
Yep, that pretty much describes how I felt running that race.
Humbling moment # 1
Before the start of the race I saw a woman I know, who's lost A LOT of weight in the past couple years, and who slowly got in shape by the same token. I thought "She's gonna be running somewhere behind me, so after the turnabout halfway through the run, I'll look for her to encourage her." Strange thing, I did not see her. I kept staring at every woman I passed who had the same color of t-shirt, but she was nowhere to be found. I finally saw her a few minutes after finishing the race. I asked her how it had gone. And that's when I learned that she had run faster than me. Just by a minute, but still. All that time, she had been ahead of me! And stupid me had assumed that because she only recently got in shape, she would be behind. How presumptuous of me. Lesson well learned.
Humbling moment # 2
About 3 km from the end of the race, a man of about 65 years caught up with me, and we ran side by side for a while. I thought "Nice, I'll cross the finish line with him". But 1 km from the finish line, the bast*** sped up like crazy! As much as I tried, I was unable to keep up! He finished about a minute before me (probably alongside above-mentioned woman).
Humbling moment # 3
Retelling the "fast-running older guy" story to an acquaintance, later, I received the last blow. There was another older man next to us, who enquired "so, what was that 65-year old's finish time?" I said "Oh, just under the hour I would say". Glowing with pride, he proceeded to tell me "I finished in 50 minutes. I'm 75 years old."
I just stared at him, speechless, in utter admiration. When I regained composure, the first thing I told him was "You got to tell me what you eat!" He actually had a banana in one hand and a bottle of chocolate milk in the other, so I guess I'm gonna be putting that on my grocery list from now on!
Before saying goodbye, I told him "Well, I still have almost 40 years to catch up to you! Maybe if I train hard enough..."
Of to some training now!!! I obviously need it!
Any humbling moment(s) you want to share with us?
Great race-starting tune. Gives me a high every time.