"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." ~Samuel Ullman
A one second PR counts, right? It's been 10 years since I ran the Great Cow Harbor 10K, and it has remained one of my favorite races. A few weeks ago, I opened the newspaper and saw it listed. I have been so focused on marathon training that I forgot it was coming up. I thought, "why am I not doing this race?" My schedule is clear, I am tapering, I signed up. It's held in a waterfront town and draws elite runners, giving it the feel of importance mixed with small-town charm. Ryan Hall holds the course record.
Because this blog is one part running and one part birthday, I find it fitting that I came back exactly 10 years after my original run. Back then, I was just about to turn 30, with my oldest son "spectating" from a backpack on his dad's back. Ironically, I do not know my exact time from that year. I have an idea, but it is the one year that is not archived anywhere on-line. I know I ran it faster this year, but don't know by how much.
It was a good run, but I made the most basic mistake in a run of this distance...I went out too fast. On a hot day, hilly course, tired legs from teaching extra Spinning classes and peak marathon training, I ran a 7:30 first mile. Oops. For some, this works. For me, it's just too fast to start. As I looked at my watch, the mental game began. I tried to talk myself down, but as soon as I hit the first hill, I knew it was going to be a tough push. I slowed, I took in the atmosphere and the view from the hills above town. I thought about everyone else running and how they all have a story of how they arrived at the start. I ran under every hose that the kind spectators had spraying across the pavement. I was thankful it was not marathon day. I let all hopes of a 10K PR drift away, settling in to just enjoy the experience. I mostly thought about how my life has changed over the past 10 years...how some things are so different, but how some things are also exactly the same. I walked the last hill. Then, coming down the awesome downhill to the finish, I realized that, if I pushed, I may get that PR after all. So, I pushed. Crossing through the finish, I knew it was close but, in the end, it did not really matter. I am stronger than I was 10 years ago and that's the real prize. After I got home, a friend sent me a text with my time. Surprised they were posted already, I double-checked. Sure enough, I was one second faster than my best 10K time. One second. Okay, I'll take it.