“Running is, uh, hard” — Lance Armstrong, Nov. 7, 2009, via Twitter.
I watched NE Ohio regional cross country meet and came away inspired. It was wet and muddy. It was hard. Everyone suffered. In short, it was epic.
Just the kind of thing I wanted to try … oh … the very next morning.
Someone told me about the Autumn Leaves race at Lake Farmpark. I read the description and comments: “bring your mud shoes”. Sounded perfectly dreadful.
So I line up with about 180 other runners to take on a bit of pavement, dirt roads, lots of soggy fields, and even a section of corn maze.
I still haven’t figured out this running-race stuff. Waiting for at the line for the start, I feel like an impostor. Like I don’t belong here. Yet the competitive side of me wants to line up next to the “fast guys” at the front. When we start, and they take off, my racer’s instinct tries to make me go with them. But my brain at least says, no, that would be suicide.
Starting on the pavement, runners pull away from me. But once we hit the wet, heavy fields to my surprise I’m passing people like mad. We hit the dirt roads, and some catch back up. Back in the muck, I pull away again. Beneath the pain, I’m thinking, “what the heck”?
I think that on the pavement, I just am not comfortable “opening up” and going fast. It doesn’t feel right. It feels like I will pull or strain some muscle at any moment. But I’m able to keep my same (slowish) speed through the muck as on the pavement. Weird.
All of a sudden I don’t mind the soaked shoes and try to take advantage of every stretch through the wet stuff.
But there’s still lots of fast guys (and one very fast woman) in front of me … by a lot. No hardware this day. But a respectable (for a bike racer) 22nd place overall.
So I’m wondering … what would it take to get really fast?