Yesterday, I ran my last race: Walla Walla Crush 10k. It was an overcast day, periodically spitting some rain. The course is beautiful, going through local grape orchards, then a road loop with views of the Blue Mountains. The terrain was rolling hills, with a combination of dirt track, gravel roads, and paved. It is a nice course to run.
However, running races is no longer fun. Getting through a race is a feat. Ear plugs- check, sun glasses- check, hat- check; a place to hide out from the crowd, noise, and speakers at the starting area- if I’m lucky. I find the sensory stimulation of the starting area overwhelming. I start the race tired, cranky, overstimulated. Yesterday, I started angry. I seriously wanted to drop that microphone down the porta john. I tire more rapidly on a course than running on my own- even at the same level of effort. Then, I have to deal with the noises of the race: other runners, people cheering, traffic, cow bells, air horns, whatever. Finally, the finish line with crowds of runners and even more noise over the loudspeakers. It’s just too much stimulation. And running slower than before the injury is demoralizing. I train as hard as my brain and body will let me. Yet, I face slower times. Even trying to tell myself that just getting from start to finish is an accomplishment, it’s hard to completely let go of the competition and achievements of the past.
So, I’m done- with road runs. I still plan to run. As a matter of fact, I ran today. No watch, no time, no worry about distance. I just ran. Perhaps I’ll even train to run another half marathon, by myself. No crowds. My own start line and my own finish.