A Moment of Weakness

Saturday, I ran the best race I’ve run in 20 months.

Rolled in #31 of 462 runners in the 13.1 mile half marathon at the Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia. I ran an average total race pace of 7:13 minute miles, and through 8 miles, had managed to negative split each one.

2014 Aviation Half-Marathon splits

I took a calf around mile 9, and had to modify my gait, but I’m still very, very proud.

I’m proud of the consistent training. I’m proud of overcoming the odds of recovery. I’m proud that I never gave up on my athletic comeback. I’m proud that for once, I utilized smart race planning and execution, and didn’t blow up on the course.

But there’s a dark cloud hanging over me

I know I shouldn’t let it bother me.

I know there will be some people that will read this and think I’ll never, ever be satisfied. And maybe that’s true in a lot of ways.

But here’s the story, anyway…

“Here dude, I won’t fight, go ahead and beat me.”

That’s what I should have said as I rolled up on the dude in the red singlet, working every bit as hard I was, both of us eyeing that last 1/4 mile to the finish with uber-eager anticipation. I had been chasing him for about a mile, and now, here we were, side by side, panting like hound dogs chasing deer.

He looks over at me…

“Good job, man,” he manages to squeeze out of his blue lips.

“Thanks, brutha,” I politely kicked back, but not wanting to talk at all, “you, too.”

{{{{ long pause }}}}

“What race are you running, half or full?” he asks, which I know is because he sees we are most likely close to the same age, and both kinda, sorta, in the front-ish pack, and thus, most likely about to fight it out in our age group.

I’ve been running long enough to know the signs.

“The half,” I grunted.

“Me, too.”

And as we turned the corner, he eased up ahead of me, pushing the pace pretty strong.

I knew he was making his move, the surge to beat me, specifically.

And I %^&%$! let him.

We crossed the finish line with him beating me by 5 seconds, 1:35:19 to 1:35:24

Later, I found out that I missed the AG podium by letting this dude go.

But that’s not what frustrates me the most.

Dammit, I want to be for real

What frustrates me the most, is the fact that I try so hard to motivate people, to get people fired up about doing, being and striving for the very best they can be, and when the opportunity was there for me to do the very same thing, I waffled. I failed. I displayed athletic weakness.

To let it happen, I played the rationalization game.

“I’m chasing the clock, not other competitors,” I tried to convince myself.

“I’m already waaaay ahead of my goal.”

“He’s probably younger than me, anyway..” on and on. Anything I could think of to feel ok with watching his backside pull further and further ahead.

But lesson learned

So congratulations, Robert Byrd, you got me, man. You were the better runner that day.

But keep looking over your shoulder because we are in the same age group for another year, and I’m determined to get fast. I’m determined to make the Atlanta Track Club competitive team, and nothing is going to stop me.

See ya at the next one!