There is always that one mile that gets me. In every race it can be counted on that I’ll feel awful for at least one whole mile. For 10Ks it’s usually the 4th mile, for 5Ks it is the second. I can push through the first and last parts but somehow that one mile always feels horrible. Like my legs are fighting the good fight. Today was no exception. Mile 4 brought an asthma attack. Mild and short-lived but the heaving chest pain was there. My first in months. Perils of racing on a road not closed to traffic I guess.
But I survived that mile. And the ones that followed. I started out too fast, but not as speedy as I generally do. I am learning. Starting to reign it in so I don’t go out and burn out. The waterstops at every mile were a welcome addition to the hot day. Aside from the mile 4 misery I felt solid. I felt strong. The pain that has been irritating me in my left shin was minimal. Thanks to the speakers I took to the streets thinking of my cousin, battling cancer, and came out of the race with a new PR. Funny. I didn’t even think the word PR until I got home and looked at previous race times. This what not a race suppose to be focused on time. I just happened to feel strong and very glad to be out there wearing my Team Marathon apparel doing something I love for a good cause. I think I really did them proud today.
I can only hope, like I always do, that some good comes out of this charity race. They raised almost $100,000 with this race. We all race for so many charities and causes but sometimes it doesn’t hit you until it becomes personal. When you know someone with breast cancer, leukemia, parkinsons, ALS, or whatever you are racing for it is suddenly all about them. It isn’t about how much your legs hurt or what your PR is going to be. It is about that you are running when they can’t. Many people will never know the joys of running, either because they can’t or because they won’t try. I can help people that won’t try with No Boundaries and other beginner programs. But for the people who can’t, I can only run in their stead.
So yes, even though I felt stupid signing up for two races in one weekend, I am glad I raced today. I might regret it in my legs at tomorrow’s 10 mile race, but I still know it was the right thing to do.