“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious“. Vince Lombardi.
I have participated in many fun runs, ranging from 8km all the way up to 42.2. For me, the emphasis has always been on the “fun” part of the endeavour, as opposed to the time taken to complete the “run” part. The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the scenery, the opportunity to pace behind a foxy female runner with exquisitely toned legs and mesmerising pony-tail sway… how can one not but have fun in such a setting!
However, there is one thing that completely ruins the fun and makes me sulk like a sissy after a race. It is when, having passed the finish line, I know deep inside that I could have pushed myself harder, that I did not give my all.
The funny thing is, I have felt this way more often after having posted a PB time than a piss-poor time. And by far the most common cause of that feeling is how I dismally negotiated the last 1-2km of the race, how I failed to close the show.
The scenario typically unfolds like this: I approach the mark that signifies there are only 2km remaining to the finish line. Instead of marshalling any remnant reserve of energy to finish those last 2km strongly, I dwell on the energy already spent pounding the distance to that point. Instead of finding the resolve to crash through the pain barrier, I dissolve into a puddle of doubt before it. Instead of closing the show, I let the show close on me.
Whenever such a “failure” happens, the feeling of regret after the race lingers much longer than the fleeting pain that so totally consumed me during its last stretch. And that, of course, makes it that much harder to get over the disappointment.
The good thing about running races is that the chance for redemption is never far away. And so I keep on testing myself, pushing myself in those last km’s trying to exhaust every last ounce of energy I have left. The subsequent exhilaration you feel from doing so, from closing the show proper … well, putting aside pacing behind that foxy female runner, what could be more fun than that!
Keep on pounding.