As a kid, I never enjoyed running. I dragged running the 6 laps in school, never quite developed the coordination to enjoy sprinting and always catching my breath when we had to do any physical exercise.
But I have developed a love for running in recent years. It doesn’t take a lot to put on a pair of running shoes and go for a run. I started running at my own pace, rather slow pace but I would take mini steps, make mini goals and day after day, I have come to be able to run for a long enough distance to complete a 10 K. So I decided to sign up for the Limestone Weekend Race – Kingston General Hospital Trauma Unit 10 K Race.
But as I started running in the race, the scene with elite runners, many with muscular calves and impressive biceps have instilled some anxiety in me, distracted me a bit and at times lost focus on my own goal of running. As the crowd started running, I became lost in the midst of the motion. I thought I was very realistic with my time, my goal and my ability to finish the course. Yet as I saw myself distancing from the crowd in front of me and more runners passing by me, I started to panic.
It also didn’t help as I was swallowing many of the irritating black flies coming in my direction as well as the strong wind that was constantly hitting my face.
Then it reached a point where I was running alone, didn’t see any runners in front of me, nor behind me. The view around the waterfront was so calm, I became excited again about running, storming through the path ahead and running at my own pace. I was once again enjoying the motion, the scene and the very fact that I was on my way of reaching my goal. As I saw the finishing line, I knew I could do it. I continued to run without concern for who were ahead of me nor who else were behind me. I wanted to do this race for myself, not anyone else.
My finishing time was an hour and 12 minutes, not impressive by any athletic standards. Someone asked me if I did it in less than an hour – I said hell no. But it was the time I had expected. During my training times, that was the time I needed to complete my 10 k. So it was no surprise to me. What was surprising was that I actually didn’t enjoy running in a race, running among all the runners who were pumped up with the adrenaline. I didn’t quite run with the same mind set. I enjoyed running alone, perhaps liking the peacefulness of solo running.
I think I will still sign up for some other races this year and the same race again next year. Because by signing up the races, I will be more motivated to keep running, something to look forward to, some goals to work towards.
Who knows? Maybe I will be able to run a half marathon in a year or two and a marathon down the road. As long as I keep it realistic and run at my own time, my own pace, I think I will do fine.