Races, like so many things in life, can include a lot of preparation to get right. And, after all of the timed intervals and tempo runs, all of the miles – short and extra long runs, after all of the sweat and salt tablets to replenish nutrients lost from sweating, and sometimes after tears and even blood that go into that preparation over weeks and even months, you’d surely want to get to the finish line in time to meet your goal.
So how disappointed would you be if you put in all of the work – and experienced all of the success of overcoming obstacles as well as some moments of perceived defeat along the way – but choked on race day?
What if you don’t drink enough water or take your Gu at the wrong time? What if you tie your left shoe just a tad too tight or forget your running watch? What if a rock gets stuck in your shoe along the course, and you don’t have time to dislodge it? What if someone cuts you off and steers you into a slow crowd, costing you a strong and elegant stride and invaluable seconds?
Would these things trip you up? Or could you overcome them? How could you be sure to reach the finish line in your goal time despite these and so many other things that might be beyond your control?
I’m talking about running here. But in case you’re wondering, I’m really not talking about running, not at all. Still, it applies to my current circumstance and so many others apart from running. And, sometimes thinking about something so familiar yet completely unrelated – like running in this case - might help.
I hope to soon say that I have tripped, suffered through a mean side ache, run with a huge rock stuck in my shoe with the end goal in mind, didn’t let any of these things slow me down but instead took them each in stride and took the race step by step while keeping the big picture in mind.
And, I hope to say that I made it to the finish line, cleaned my scraped up knee, massaged out the side ache, and got the rock out of my shoe while feeling all the more proud of my race time because they didn’t slow me down.
I hope to then look forward to my next race, wondering what new obstacles might be in store and how I will handle them as well.
It’s been an incredible – and stressful – past six days. Stay tuned. . .