What a difference a year makes!
Holy crap. I actually just wrote that. Yes, that JUST happened!
As a writer, I secretly yearn to read laughable clichés such as that first sentence. It’s just so horrendous and unoriginal. Yet, go ahead, do a Google search and see what you find. It’s everywhere! Heck, the New York Daily News did it just two weeks ago. Fantastic stuff!
Not quite sure what I’m getting at? Well, in the great words of the legendary reporter Dickie Dunn from the movie Slapshot.
What the heck does all of this have to do with running, you ask? Well, I am fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the first race I ever competed in — the Chattahoochee Challenge 10K. Wow, has it already been a year? Sure enough, I flash back in time and find my post on that first race. It was a great start and a HUGE learning experience. I’m psyched to see how far I have come. I have run that “course” so many times on training runs now that I feel I might even have a “home field” advantage when this year’s race rolls around. Or maybe not… we shall see.
Since that first race, I have run a couple official half marathons, the NYC Marathon, a bunch of 10ks and a handful of 5ks. In each race I have learned a little bit more about myself and what it takes to be a “runner”… not somebody who jogs, but somebody who RUNS. To me, as a competitive person, there’s a definite difference.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a jogger, so to speak, but that’s just not my style. I like to challenge myself and see where I can stack up. I certainly don’t get upset when I fail to win my age division (I have finished 2nd twice, and 7th overall in another race — not that I’m keeping track, of course!), but I do have a clear knowledge of when I have “failed” in a race or during a particular run. When that happens, it never makes me want to quit running, it just makes we want to work harder and learn a little more.
As a quick example… This recent run was incredible on so many levels.
Most notably, I felt like I could have gone the full 26.2 on this day. I only stopped because I didn’t have another hour or so to spare. That’s it… THAT is why I stopped? Really? That’s still unbelievable to me. I also felt stronger during the 19th mile than I did during Mile 1. I credit this to all the things I have learned over the past year, especially pace and stride.
Of course, it has taken me a few days longer to fully recover than I had expected, but for the most part I felt great after the run.
With all of this said, I’m anxious to run in my “one-year anniversary” race in early February. I’m curious to know exactly how much of a difference a year actually does make!