I ran a really sucky 10K race last weekend, the kind where you feel like crap from the very first step and want to quit the whole way and wonder why in the hell you paid money to do something so stupid as to run down a road in the middle of nowhere in Alaska for a lousy tee-shirt that probably won't fit.
That was me. I signed up for the Exit Glacier Run the day before the race, and forget the fact that I had just run a hard 12.5 miles, I was sure I would hit a 48:40 or, the worst case scenario, a 49:20.
I finished in 50:21. Worst yet they typed in my results wrong and credited me with 50:31.
I don't think I've ever felt so crappy during a race. I truly wanted to quit, and I never quit, not even in practice runs.
The race was over Exit Glacier Road (duh!), and they bussed us out to the start and let us loose to run back, which meant that we ran into a strong wind the whole way. But that wasn't the problem. It was me. I felt heavy and fatigued.
The course was marked in kilometers and by the time I reached the first, I was ready to quit. By the second, I was thinking of outs: I could pretend to fall and twist my ankle; I could fake an asthma attack.
The fourth kilometer was unspeakable, it was THAT bad. Luckily I was running with a woman named Jen from Anchorage (thanks, Jen!), and if not for her, I think I would have curled up on the side of the road and died.
When I hit the fifth kilometer marker, though, I knew I could finish. Three miles was the middle of a tempo run or a segment of a pace run. I could suffer that long. I even managed to pick it up the last mile and run a fairly decent 7:30 pace. But it was, as the old saying goes, too little too late.
It was a humbling experience and whacked my confidence a bit. I suppose it's good to get whacked every once in a while, though. It keeps one hungry for better things.
Running: Exit Glacier 10K: 50:21
Reading: "Slow Motion" Dani Shapiro