On Saturday, March 20 Rose City Tack Club held its second time trial of the year. I was among several teammates who tested our fitness at the 10K. And what an experience it was!
The out-and-back course began at 8 am at Sauvie Island School. It continued northeast along Reeder Road for about three miles before turning back. It had rained leading up to the event and puddles marked the course. There was a slight but stubborn westerly wind.
I was nervous leading up to the time trial. I had built up a base after months of consistent training. But I hadn’t done any specific training for the 10K. Zero VO2 max work or tempo runs. And I had no idea what my race pace was. I set an arbitrary goal: 38 minutes.
The time trial began with a downhill section, so I started out relatively fast. My first mile was a 5:32–significantly faster than my goal pace. I stayed below 6:00/mi pace for the first half of the course. At the turnaround, things got real.
The 10K is already one of the more challenging distances for me. It’s basically just two 5Ks sandwiched together. There’s barely any reprieve. So the headwind on the second half of the course, while small, created a big mental obstacle.
This is the point where every runner has to dig deeper. Part of me was telling me to stop. That I couldn’t do what I set out to do. That it hurt. But I was able to overcome my inner voice and remind myself that I WAS doing this. And that the discomfort was just a feeling, just an emotion…
Cheers and encouragement from teammates kept me going in the last mile. And the familiar sight of the Sauvie Island School was a warm reminder that I was going to make it. I was so excited, I didn’t even notice the final uphill. I was just focused on making it to the finish line.
When I crossed the finish, I looked at my watch: 37:39. I was ecstatic. A new personal record. I was overjoyed that, in the midst of all the obstacles we’ve shared over the last year, pure joy can be discovered from within. And that, no matter what is happening around us, this simple sport is always here for us. And, if we surrender ourselves to the process, it can take us to endless places.
Saturday revealed to me that I get out of this sport what I put in. More than ever, I believe that the possibilities are limitless if we do the work. I want to see what happens when I really try to inject my heart and soul into this daily practice. Too often we limit ourselves by saying “Oh, I couldn’t achieve THAT.”
So here’s to new goals. And here’s to endlessly exploring our own potential, wherever it takes us. On this Saturday at Sauvie Island I was reminded that it’s not about the final outcome. It’s about the eternal journey in pursuit of that goal. And it’s about being surrounded by a community of equally-dedicated teammates uplifting each other.