I *wanted* to be in one of the faster waves. I *wanted* to be challenged, pushed, and motivated. Months from now, those may be the words that I will use to describe my experience but, for now, I think words such as humbled, left behind, and discouraged are more on my mind.
TNT sends out the runners in waves as a way to minimize the impact on the running routes and, at the same time, attempt to have the majority of the runners finish around the same time. The slower runners therefore begin running first and the faster runners start later. My wave started last, and was made up of the faster runners. The majority of the group was planning to run the farthest distance of the run routes, but there were a few who would turn back sooner.
I could blame my inability to keep pace with the group on my potty stop, however I honestly felt the pace was quick (for a long run) right from the start. I went into the bathroom knowing that I hadn’t a prayer of ever seeing my group again…
except…when they passed me on their return. “Go Team,” I mumbled. I meant it, but my usual cheeriness was lacking in a major way.
By the time I crossed the finish line, the crowd was busily eating. A few looked up to hoot and holler at the few of us finishing. I tried my best at being appreciative rather than humiliated. After all, someone has to be last.
The thing was, I wasn’t really finished at that point because I was determined to run the “10 miles” that was on the training calendar. The coaches opted not to push the participants too far on this run since last week’s run was short on mileage. I did a pre-check in with the coach, and then slipped past the crowd to add on another 1.5 miles.
On top of appeasing my type-A personality, the additional distance will help me mentally prepare for a half-marathon that I will be running on July 13th. I was encouraged to do a longer race to gauge my fitness level at this point in the training. Of course am nervous about getting my butt kicked, when I seriously want to be the one to do the butt kicking. It’s not likely, but I will do what I can to convince myself otherwise. You all know that this sort of mental preparation (running 10 miles instead of 8.8) can go a long way to fueling a strong race.
Coming in at the back of the pack is a new experience for me but, it may be just what I need to challenge, push, and motivate me to excel. On race day, however, I seriously hope to move up in the pack a little….just a little.