This weekend, I am not attending the Gloucester Gran Prix Cyclocross race. I am bummed. Tim Johnson will be racing in terrible conditions (conditions in which he excels) and I’m going to miss it.
I suppose I could have gone, but a 4-year-old in the pouring rain is an unhappy companion. My son would last 10 minutes before starting to whine, and for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the North Shore (one way), 10 minutes of spectating isn’t worth the aggravation.
Plus, I have my own race to focus (and fret) on. I’m already feeling nervous about tomorrow’s Mud, Sweat and Gears Duathlon. A few days ago, I went to a local park to recreate what the full event would feel like. I did the full course (at a different location), 2 miles running, 5.5 miles mountain biking, and 2 miles running again. I did pretty well. I kept moving, tried to keep my pace steady, and tried to “run my own race.”
Despite knowing cognitively that I am a 38 (39 on Monday) year old mother, who is basically a female weekend warrior–I still feel that competitive spirit, that pride, and that defeat that comes naturally with any event deemed a “race.” I have to manage that little war in my brain, the self-doubt because I am not in the front group, because I’m in the back, often alone, often struggling. Even though I feel pride that I do this sort of thing at all–that pride leaves me when I’m losing.
Thursday night I had an interesting, unexpected conversation with a salesman at a sports & running store. We started chatting and I learned he was a marathon runner. I could gather after about 2 minutes of conversation that marathoning was his passion, his lifestyle, and he struck me as a content, happy man. He rattled off historic information about runners from this and the last century. We started talking about the competitiveness of racing, and he said, “Well, there can only be one winner. If you’re racing again 1000 runners –there’s only one who comes in first.” This sounded so simple, yet putting it in such absolute terms actually allowed me to feel more comfortable with just being a part of the pack. I was in good company–with only one winner, there was more comfort in being part of the main field. Hey–maybe it is lonely at the top. I just need to accept that I’ll never know.
So my goals tomorrow still remain: Finish. Have a good event. Enjoy myself. And just run my own race.