Let’s talk about The Finish Line; of any race, be it an Ironman, marathon, or ‘just’ a 5k. While people are all unique and there are few things that we can ALL agree on, I have to wonder if a poll were taken, how many people would agree that one of their favorite parts of a race is the sight of and the approach to The Finish Line.
You know that feeling…when you round the last corner, and you know what is just ahead. Your body hurts (or it should if you have been going hard enough!) and you want to find that one last gear in your body. Maybe you are shooting for a certain time, and you know you are going to barely make it. This past weekend, at the Decker Half Marathon, the last few miles I realized that a 1:22 was a good ‘in race goal’ (that being a race whereby you only really set a goal time once you are almost finished with it, often the kind of race that you are just racing to race). The body started to fatigue, and I realized that I needed to wait until the very last mile to drop any hammer in me. And it was such a low-key event, that even the last 1/2 mile, I could not ‘see’ a finish line. The clock ticked away, and I knew that even a 1:22-high was not happening. So, I pushed in for about a 1:23.04 (ish). But that last turn, seeing The Finish Line is such a great feeling. Whether this was your first time to do the distance, or you are just out to race and have fun, The Finish Line seems to make it all worth waking up early for.So as I sit here contemplating doing the Jingle Bell 5k on Sunday, I looked at the course map. I tried to recall how it looked last year when I did it. I can recall some false flats on the course, and appropriately, I recall feeling a bit sick from having pushed too hard too early within the race. Will I go out again this year? I think so. Because even though it is only 3.1 miles, the feeling of pushing the body to it’s limits (for that day), the burn in the legs and lungs, the support of all your fellow runners out there doing the same thing, and of course that Lovely Finish Line make it all worth it. And try to smile if even just a bit when you go under It. The race may have been perfect, it may have been disappointing; it may have been ‘raise your arms up’-worthy or it may have been ‘I cannot wait to stop this’ miserable; but the important thing is that you went out, set aside the nerves and fear and you did it. Every finish is something to be proud of.