Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Overcoming the Fear that Made Me Old

I spent a significant portion of my Sunday morning as a participant in the Navesink Challenge 15K race, which began and ended at Bodman Park in Middletown Township.  If ever I have participated in an event whose name evokes the credo of "Truth in Advertising", this is the event.  The 15K (9.3 mile) event takes place on an out-and-back course that features significant elevation changes, including at least two of two hundred feet or more.  It was, to be guilty of understatement - as I often am, one hell of a trying and satisfying run.  

I achieved my pre-race goal, which was to complete the event in ninety minutes or less.  I had never run the 15K before - although I had run the 5K on one prior occasion so I had at least an inkling just how hard a morning I was in for as I crossed the starting line - so I figured if I could run three 5K distances, back-to-back-to-back, in thirty minutes or less, then my trip to bucolic Bodman Park would have been worthwhile.  I finished in 1:27:53.   

Do not misunderstand.  My favorite part of running is that one can measure success on a sliding - and very personal - scale.  For me, Sunday was a success.  It was not, however, an event in which I threatened anyone - in my age group - or otherwise.  Significantly more people finished ahead of me than finished behind me.  The winning times were posted by Jason Gers of Monmouth Beach and Caitlin Dorgan of Red Bank, who broke the tape in 54:24 and 1:01:30, respectively.  

I have taped to my desk at work a quote attributed to General George S. Patton, who long before he raised holy hell commanding the U.S. Third Army following the D-Day Invasion, competed for the United States in the Modern Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics.  

On Sunday morning, I took General Patton's directive to heart and I applied it to the task at hand.  There was more than one moment when I looked at the road rising perceptibly in front of me and wondered (hopefully, not aloud), "Holy Shit, just what was I thinking?"  But those moments passed as quickly as they had arrived.  And at some point - a little less than ninety minutes after I had started - I achieved my objective.  

Crossing the Finish Line - 11/29/15
(It's my time & not my pulse rate that I'm checking)

Mind over matter?  Indeed.  And on Sunday morning, it was over hill(s) as well. 


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