Near Victory, Near Defeat

Color Manila Nite Run Cebu 10k  05/17/14

This race was different from last month’s race. It took place at night, which made this my first night race. The race t-shirt was black. The organizers exchanged the colorful powder with glow sticks and light thingies. I had only one friend with me this time. He registered for 5k while I moved up to 10k. Perhaps the greatest difference of all was my condition. I felt good. I felt really good. This was still a fun run but I felt really competitive that night.

At the gun start, I was positioned at the back. It was a very slow start. Runners were parading with their glow sticks in hand and almost everyone took selfies with their cellphones and GoPro cameras. I positioned my own glow stick inside my shirt at my back. When I finally got out of the middle pack, I increased my pace gradually. The glow stick kept bumping softly against my head creating some sort of rhythm that kept me going for eight kilometers. I only ever walked during my side trips to the water stations. I felt strong. I felt powerful. I felt invincible.

A dark thought suddenly crept into my heart. I could not possibly keep this going. I walked on the penultimate turn. Runners passed me one by one. I felt the sting of defeat as they did. Defeat was commonplace in me. I accepted them readily. A little too readily. Something snapped inside of me. It was the part of me that was born in the track. Its snarls keep me going during my speedwork. With it, I would issue challenges to elites fearlessly. I may lose a lot during long distance racing but I was at least competitive with the local elites when it came to the track. It was the beast and it ignited fire in my heart down to my legs. I passed each runner that had passed me during my momentary walk of defeat. The last stretch, which was the kick zone, was riddled with selfie and groufie addicts. I did not lose speed but instead sped up even more. It was like threading a needle at high-speed. The beast enjoyed the extra challenge. I was sprinting with my all in the end and passed the finish line victoriously.

I expected a PR and I got it. Victory. A snarl echoed in my mind. I did not break one hour. The beast was disappointed. Defeat. A litany of excuses flooded my brain. I forced them away and headed to the waiting area. My friend was racing. I hoped he was doing okay. He arrived minutes later and regaled me with his own story of victory and defeat. I listened to patiently to his litany of excuses and offered words of encouragement. We had our post-race snacks and enjoyed the concert. The beast staggered off somewhere to slumber. Finally, I could focus on the victory. I could focus on the fun. I could finally focused on the moment. 1:00:25

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