A dollop of Hot Chocolate, Baby!
Another race on the books.
As I stood there freezing my ass off in the corral waiting for that starting buzzer to go off, I found myself wondering why on earth I was doing this. All around me people were laughing and talking within their groups of friends who had joined them for the event. A very party-like atmosphere.
But not for me.
I stood there moving about trying to keep warm. Talking myself through the plan. Trying to get my brain prepared to run when all I really wanted to do was climb back in bed where it was warm. Waiting for my corral to be released (I hate staggered start times). Asking myself over and over again why I was there.
I always run alone, but normally there is somebody that I’ve gone to the race with. Today, I was by myself. Alone with my thoughts. There for the Hot Chocolate 5K. Thinking of the Iron Cowboy. Thinking about running in high elevation. Thinking about running up big hills. Thinking about swimming in snow melt lakes. Thinking about riding a street bike when all I know is a mountain bike. Thinking about why I was at a meaningless, “fun” Hot Chocolate race. And not having fun being there.
And then the race started and it felt good to run. Passing some people. Being passed by some people. And then… DYING running up very small hills. Freaking out about running in the mountains. Wondering why I ever committed to such a foolish endeavor. Trying to remind myself that I have not begun training for the Cowboy. Talking myself off a ledge that will send me into a valley of self doubt. Realizing that there is a purpose to this race. Thinking about the stepping stones required to compete in, what to me is, the ultimate race.
With a tenth of a mile to go, the finish line in sight, I was tired. So tired. And I did something I’ve never done in a race before. I sped up. For a tenth of a mile I ran a pace that I am unable to run. I finished strong. I recovered quickly. (I ate chocolate!!) My body can do more than I give it credit for.
Then it was clear.
The purpose of this race was to remind me that there was a day when I couldn’t run for 60 seconds. The purpose of this race was to remind me that there will be a day when I complete an Iron Cowboy.