Breaking Sixty

Amazon Electro Run 2014 10k  07/26/14


I registered this race with a few new friends and a triathlon relay teammate. They were new recruits so I thought I’d ease them in to the racing scene with a fun race. We had dinner at Persian Palate, which was known for its healthy dining experience. I ordered chicken shawarma rice and devoured it along with some leftover kebab. Regret came swiftly as I walked. My stomach was so full that it ache with every step. Since it was about two hours to gunstart, my teammate and I decided to sleep in his girlfriend’s pickup truck. It was hot and cramp but we made do. We woke up with thirty minutes to spare and walked towards the venue. I led the newbies to a series of warm-up exercises while my teammate did his own routine. Afterwards, my teammate and I lined up at the very front of the pack. It did not escape my notice that my stomach was still busy digesting but there was nothing I could do about it now.


It was a mad scramble for position. My teammate, whose name is Mark Jason by the way, took the lead and I followed him patiently. He was going a bit faster than I’d like but it the strategy suited him. Competitiveness drove him and he kept pushing the pace. I caught sight of a friend named Jennifer and called out to her. She waved me over, took a selfie with me, and bolted away. I lost sight of my teammate and my friend within a space of seconds. It was at this point that I noticed that legs were not doing well.


I caught up to Jennifer but I was having trouble keeping up with her. Mark Jason was 50 meters away and still pushing the pace.


My legs were now sufficiently warmed up. I politely nodded at Jennifer and quickened my pace. Mark Jason was still way ahead of me.


When I finally caught up to Mark Jason, I position myself at his back like I always did during his training. I had trained him before and it made me proud to see him improve so quickly. He asked me if he should push the pace. I told him that it was up to him to decide.


I was having trouble keeping up with Mark Jason. He sped when I slowed and slowed when I sped. Our rhythms were out of sync and I was paying the price for it. My bulging belly did damage to my form as well. My stride was heavy and I was heel-striking.


We crossed the midpoint faster than I had predicted. Mark Jason’s 5k pace was a minute slower than my 5k PR pace but it was fast considering the condition I was in. I honored him and told him that he has nothing else to learn from me. He had broken thirty in the 5k.


My stomach no longer hurt but I was having trouble breathing. My nose was clogged up and I felt like vomiting every time I tried to clear the mucus. I tapped Mark Jason’s shoulder and told him, “I feel like vomiting. Go on without me.”


After a bit of walking, I resumed running. To stop choking on my mucus, I breathed through my mouth. I hated it.


I caught up to Mark Jason and told him, “I’ll go on ahead. I’m having trouble adjusting to your pace.” As I went ahead, I allowed the beast to take over. It turned out that the beast hated losing to anyone even a former student and teammate.


At this stage, many runners became walkers. I passed them all. The beast purred with delight. In the distance, I spied a musclebound gym rat.


When I caught up to the gym rat, he engaged me in small talk. I obliged him then he suddenly bolted away.


I recognized my surroundings. The finish line was very near. I saw Mark Jason at the turn. He was looking weary but he was soldiering on. I took several deep breaths.


When I saw the finish line, something in me clicked. The beast snarled. I was performing my fastest kick in years. Everything blurred. I passed a lot of runners, walkers, and 5kers. I even passed the musclebound gym rat. When I crossed the finish line, I held my hands up jubilantly. I finally broke an hour in the 10k. The gym rat followed behind and sprinted towards the line for the finisher’s medals. No doubt still trying to beat me. What a nasty thought. I forgave myself and allowed the beast and his competitiveness to disappear. The race was done. It was time to celebrate. I found Mark Jason and the newbies later. My teammate had broken one hour as well. I wasted no effort in containing my pride and honored him some more. I honored the newbies as well. They finished with smiles on their faces. That was a victory in itself.


One thought on “Breaking Sixty

  1. Pingback: A Good Year | nullsturm

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