I’m selfish sometimes. Well, a lot of the time. I’m selfish about chocolate and showers and running. Most of the time, this bothers me not a bit.
But on Saturday, I did feel a little guilty about my selfish ways.
Saturday was the Miles for Midwives 5K, which we’ve run 5 years in a row now, and which I’ve won a couple of times.* All last week I tried to rest up for it. “Resting up” for a 5K may sound a little silly, but my legs have been pretty sore since I’ve been biking over the Manhattan Bridge 10 times a week to go get Manchild and bring him home. (Pushing Squish and Little Miss in the jogger a couple of times a week may have tired out my muscles some, too.) And since we’ve been getting 6 1/2 hours of sleep on a good night for the past month or so, I was pretty exhausted in general. “Resting up” was probably a good idea all around, and it’s a shame it took a race to get me serious about it.
As we were getting ready for bed on Friday night, Micah noticed I seemed a little out of sorts, so I laid it out for him: I was nervous about the race. I wanted to do well. PR for sure, maybe a sub-20:00? And wouldn’t it be great if I won as well? But I wasn’t sure where I stood. My legs, though sore, were stronger than they’d ever been. Would that be enough to push me through the fog of tiredness? I was just going to have to find out.
Micah could see that I was stressing about it. So when the race started on Saturday morning, he stayed with me. We powered up the hill together and already – 1/2 a mile in – I could feel my legs burning. I hoped that as we turned onto flatter ground, I would be able to ease up a bit, but . . . I didn’t. I couldn’t. Halfway through the race, as we were going downhill, I got a side-stitch right as we caught up to the guy in 4th place. Not a good combination for competitive me. We stayed level with him and I breathed as deeply as I could to ease the side-stitch. And that’s when I started moaning to Micah about how hard it was.
“I’m struggling,” were the only words I managed to speak. Other than that, it was literally just moaning. Because I hurt. And it was not easy. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it. Where was the finish line? Wasn’t this race only 3.1 miles?
And then it was there. I saw the time on the clock: 20:07 . . . 20:08 . . . 20:09 . . . it was 20:13 by the time we crossed the line. We’d actually seen the 2nd and 3rd place finishers cross ahead of us. We’d come in 4th and 5th. It was a PR for me by about 30 seconds, and I’d won the women’s division.
It wasn’t until an hour or so later that I realized that Micah had a chance to win the race if he hadn’t been pacing me. He for sure could have come in 2nd. But instead he stuck with Moaning Myrtle here and I, in my selfishness, didn’t give it a thought until it was way too late.
He claims he gets a lot more satisfaction in seeing me compete than in competing himself, and that he is always really proud of me for giving it all my effort. He says that he’s not in top shape anyway, and that running that pace wasn’t easy for him, either. But really, my only consolation is that he got the same medal for getting 1st in his age division as he would if he had won the whole race. There were no special prizes for the winner.
(Digression: It was consolation to me, but also a little annoying because they have given out goodie bags to the winners before and they were awesome! I wanted one! Another annoying thing: they nearly didn’t give the top female finishers any recognition at all! It wasn’t until me and the 2nd place lady complained – and told them they were doing it wrong – that we were given our own little medals. I was a little shocked: a race that celebrates women and labor and they don’t celebrate the women who labored to come in first?!)
So I was selfish. And I felt a little guilty about it. But that’s not going to stop me from waking up super early Saturday morning and leaving Micah to herd the kids out the door by himself so I can run the Rock N Roll 10K. Because I’m allowed to be selfish about a few things. And running is one of them.
*Manchild didn’t race this year. After the horrible run a couple of weeks ago, he declared it was too far and he wasn’t going to do it. Micah wisely stepped in and told him that was fine, even though I was prepared to talk him into it anyway. He said he might be interested in running it next year – if we start training sooner. But my sister, Abby, ran and although she went into with the goal of simply finishing, she totally PRed. Rock. On.