This weekend I’m participating in a local half-marathon. This is the fourth time I’ve done this particular race and my sixth half overall. Normally a couple of running friends and I train together, meeting every Saturday morning in the ten to twelve weeks leading up to the race to run and walk the course together so that we’re prepared, both physically and mentally, when race day comes.
This year, however, has thrown us a curve ball. Between being out of town a couple of weekends, canceling our training due to stormy weather and various illnesses (bronchitis for me, similar respiratory crud for my friends), our training has been de-railed quite a bit. While I’m far better than I was a couple of weeks ago, my lung power has still not fully recovered from the bronchitis; I still find myself getting a bit winded from time to time if I walk too fast and running is proving to be quite a challenge. My training buddies are similarly still in recovery mode from their ailments. Given all that, we decided that we’d still do the race this weekend but will walk most (if not all) of it, not worrying about our finish time.
While my body is rejoicing a bit over this decision (walking 13.1 miles will still be a challenge, but definitely easier than trying to run), I have to confess that my ego is having a tougher time. It’s going to be hard to ignore the clock and not try to beat our finish time from last year. My pride is really going to take a hit if we end up finishing past the 4-hour mark, which is when they officially close the race and, technically, our finish times will not be recorded.
It’s hard to give my competitive side a rest—and yet, I know that this is probably the best decision to keep our bodies healthy as we continue to recover. So I’m trying to remind myself that slow and steady is not a bad thing—just ask the tortoise, right? At least I’ll have good friends to while away the miles with, and that always makes the race—no matter what speed I’m going—a lot more enjoyable.