As runners, we often learn things about ourselves that we’d never known before. From the inspiring (Wow, I never knew I was capable of running a marathon) to the eerie (Damn, I look like I’m heading out to rob a bank when I’m all decked out in my winter gear). From the awkward (I never imagined I had a penchant for public peeing until I took up running) to the sublime (Man, I've never experienced life until I'm running and spectating at Mile 25), we are constantly finding and rediscovering bits and pieces of ourselves that we never knew existed until we started running.
This week’s discovery moment came a couple days ago when I realized I had a race this Sunday: The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K. Unbeknownst to even me at the beginning of the week, apparently, I’m afraid of 5Ks, like deathly afraid. The weird part is I’m terrified of the 5K not because I’ve never raced that distance before, (Yeah, my performance at Prospect Park last week killed that argument) or because I might suck at it, which I honestly might because the race calculators have predicted a 18:29 finishing time for me in this race, which is so insanely fast. I’m afraid of 5Ks because of a phone conversation I had with a running buddy that went something along the lines of:
- “So you’re running the 5K this weekend.”
- “Yep. My first one.”
- “Watch your step at the finish.”
- “What? Why? Oh you mean because it might rain on Sunday…”
- “NO. The puke. The finish line can get kind of slippery with all that vomit all over it!”
You see, I hadn’t thought of that specific aspect of the 5K before my friend mentioned it, but now that he did, I can’t stop thinking about it!!! For one thing, I haven’t puked in public since my very first race four years. And on some subconscious level, I take pride in the fact that I’ve never defiled the earth with my projectile vomit in all the races I’ve done since. Secondly, I think I’m scheduled to meet some new bloggy friends immediately following the race and I’d rather their first impression of me not be of the guy puking his brains out at the finish. However, because this is the first points race of the new year for bragging rights among the local running clubs, I might be tempted to approached the puke threshold just to catch or hold off one or two guys from a rival club right at the line. At the very least, I’m sure the thoughts will cross my mind as I’m passing the 3 mile marker heading for home. Is it worth it? Is it worth my puking my brains out just to end up 505th instead of 507th, nipping guys at the end who are much faster than me, stronger than me, pacing me the whole time who has done nothing to me, and don’t know my name or my business except the New York Flyers logo stuck to the front of my race jersey but who will now lose the race simply because they are unsuspecting, or should I run fast but just hold my pace and watch my step going gingerly over the finish. So what if I’ll lose a second or maybe two in the process? No one will know the difference anyway right? Hmmm…tough question. So tough in fact I wish I wouldn’t have to ask it….EVER!!! But I will, and I know I will.
And that’s why I’m afraid, so very afraid of the 5K. For those who’ve conquered the fear, or have much more experience than me (which would be NONE) racing this distance, please share your expertise as to how this situation can be rectified? Please. Maybe then I can finally catch some sleep before my race. Here’s to hoping anyway….
Have a good weekend all!
(As a reminder, be sure to sign up for the free exclusive screening of Beyond the Epic Run if you’re from NYC and are free Monday night. Just tell ‘em the Laminator sent ya…)