Slow Moving Target
So Saturday I had the "Run for the Hill of It" race in Wissahickon Park. With my car out of comission, I had no choice but to get up at 6:30 AM and ride to the race. It turned out to be an essentially uphill climb the entire way there - which was probably not so wonderful for my legs. I got there though- and what a well organized race this was! They had tons of schwag to hand out, chiropractor booths (who looked at my shoulders) juice, iced tea, water, energy drinks, bananas, bagels, you name it. Such a party!
Anyway - the race was awful for me. Not because it wasn't a fun race (the organizers give the proceeds to a family with a child with Muscular Dystrophy - and about 800 racers turn out) but because my legs just blew up after the first mile. I did the first mile in 9:15, the second in 9:30 (which is a moderate training pace for me) and then a PATHETIC 11:30 or so for the remaining three miles. I am humiliated - I got passed by old guys, children, obese women.
Truly, I am starting to think that with my big ass and skinny legs, I just wasn't cut out to be a runner. Or a biker. So why am I doing triathlon? At first there was the great "gee whiz! I'm really doing it!" kind of feeling. But now all that's left is the shame and humiliation of being incapable of anything other than hanging on at the very tail end of the pack. It's just not a good feeling - slinking home with my tail between my legs. Especially when an incredibly cute girl in an orange t-shirt started talking to me during the race, and I could barely gasp out replies - and then I couldn't even keep up with her. God I suck! Halfway through the race, I SWEAR a duck laughed at me. It sounded just like The Penguin on the old Batman TV show, Burgess Meredith cackling at how much I suck.
Afterwards, however, I decided that rather than pedal up the gigantic hill on Bells Mill Road (which was a blast to come down, I promise) I'd head down the trail along the Wissahickon Creek. I saw a little house that looked like it served breakfast, so I figured a post-race omelette by the river would be great. And, indeed, it was. Except for a family of screaming children, who were making an incredible racket while their father tried to force the resteraunt to sell him cups of soda to go (which they didn't have, but he insisted on anyway) - it was a peaceful scene. The creek burbling by, river fowl of every sort (including an obviously mutated Gooseasauraus that was the biggest goose I ever saw, with a fleshy head-crest and wobbly neck) - it was quite lovely and refreshing. Secluded away from any road, it was pleasant to sit, recover, and read while having a huge and fluffy omelette. The air was very cool with a sort "it's about to rain" humidity, and the coffee was hot and good.
After breakfast/lunch, I pedalled or pushed my bike over the rockier bits, and explored a bit of the park I hadnt' seen before. Eventually I found a path up to Gorgas road, which comes out surprisingly close to my house! That was a cool discovery, and I filed for future reference the fact that I can take a short jaunt to a parking lot (perhaps with a lovely companion) and an entirely scenic and bracing stroll through woodland pathways, and come out at a secluded restaruant nestled by the waterside...
So, by far, coming home from the race was better than going to, or doing, the race. At no point during the race did I feel elated or excited, just mad at myself for sucking so much. Since it's the high from doing it that's the reward for me (as I'll never, ever win, I'm sure) there's now no reward other than health for this exercise. It's hard to enjoy doing something that I suck at, and isn't fun to be doing - but feels good to have done. Except for the sting of humiliation and defeat, of course.
I'm seriously considering hanging up my spurs.