Monday, March 17, 2008

My 4-Mile Adventure

So those of you who know me know that I am not the prototypical runner. I am about 6-1 and weigh in at a solid 245. I am built more like a linebacker or tight-end then a runner. But there I was on a cold March day running a 4-mile race in Corktown.

This race has become something of a tradition with me. I ran it back in high school when I was a bit thinner. Then I took a nice long break that coincided with my getting an education and getting slightly out of shape. The last two years I have also ran, with my 1st years time being about 44 minutes or 11 minutes a mile. Last year it was 41:23. This year it was my goal to run it in under 40 minutes. Even I had my doubts.

The weeks before I was really trying to ramp up my training. On last Sunday I ran 4 miles on a treadmill on 37:55. This was an amazing experience for me, and frankly I thought that it was just luck or something else. It is conventional wisdom that what is run on a treadmill DOES NOT translate into a real time. Fast forward to race day.

Of course it had been in the 40's all week, but on race day it was only supposed to get barely above freezing. Let me give you a picture of what I looked like before the race.

OK, so it was not that bad, but lets just say it was not warm. Well we all started and I was feeling pretty good, and I crossed the 1 mile mark and looked at my watch it said 8:55. Now that was a little faster then I had even wanted to go, I was scared I would run out of gas later in the race. The second mile marker came and went and I was at 18:10 when I went by it. Now by this time I was mentally feeling pretty good, but there was a dreaded sidestitch forming on my right side.

This was the point in the race, and there is one in every run, where you really want to give up. The idea of stopping starts appealing to just about every sense in your body. Pain makes you want to stop, breathing hard makes you want to stop. The only thing that keeps you going is your brain. That inner drive to complete a goal. So this time the brain won over the body and I somehow managed to run the last two miles in 20 minutes. Thus completing my goal by running the 4 mile race in 38:13. not exactly an Olympic qualifying time, but great for me. This is an actual picture of me after the race.

OK, maybe not, but that is EXACTLY how I felt.


Anonymous said...

SSSOOOO funny! way-to-go reaching your goal!

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Rosiecat said...

JD, why didn't I see this essay earlier? I'm so proud of you for running such a great race! You are totally on the mark about how racing actually feels. Reliably, it turns into a battle between "Ow, this really hurts!" and "Shut up, I'm trying to race hard!" Body vs. brain--the only way to race is to let brain call the shots.