Yesterday I went to the grocery store and was approached by a young guy who asked me, "Which one did you do?" He was pointing at the random race shirt I had thrown on before heading out. I looked down at the shirt and it took me a minute to figure out which one it was. As I stammered incoherently for a minute, I finally remembered which race it was.
It was the crappy one.
I hadn't done that many races at that point, only about 4 or so. But this one stood out in my mind because I really wanted to do well. It was a 5K done with my running group, Sole Sisters. We had done a race in the fall and now we were doing a spring race to see our progress.
I excitedly rode in with my group mates. We started and I was off. I was keeping a good pace, weaving through the starting line traffic. I hit the main road, and to my dismay, it was uphill. At this point, I had only been running for about 8 months. After 9 years of inactivity, an uphill climb is hard.
But I went; up and up. I reached the turn-around point and headed down the next road. It was uphill too. Seriously, who makes a course like this? I looked down at my iPhone app to see how badly I was doing and I realized I somehow paused it, so I had no clue.
I pressed on. I turned a corner and there was another uphill. I started walking. The negative thoughts popped into my head. "You're not a runner. What made you think you could do this?"
Then, the guy in the motorized wheelchair passed me. I gave up. I let myself believe that I could not do it.
My official time for that race 41.38. Below my first race time of 45.29, but I still counted it as a failure...until I met that guy in the produce department.
I finally answered his question and told him I did the 5K. He was so excited to share that that was his first 10K race ever. We bonded over how hard the course was. (We live in Arizona and it's flat around here and most races don't have hills like that.) We parted ways and I smiled to myself. I had just bonded with another runner. He didn't see all my various ailments. He didn't care about my time. He just wanted to share his story and know that someone else had difficulty climbing that hill.