Her, there, in the red..yes..the one with the perfect hair…the non-sweating one with perfect form and grace and fancy running gear..yes her…SHE will not beat me.  Oh that guy..with his golden shoes and forty seven packs of gel and eight water bottles talking about how he’s running 6 minute miles…oh him..he will read the back of my shirt because I WILL be in front of him.  Every race I inevitably choose some random participant that I have this inner dialogue about how important it is that I finish ahead of said person.  The person never knows..that’s the beauty of it…the silent competitor.  I usually identify some poor innocent runner as my nemesis and then take great delight in finishing ahead of them.  There is no particular qualification the nemesis has to have other than being someone who shows up to the race.  It makes it worse if they appear to be someone who photographs well on the course.

We all know our on course race pictures usually capture our most despicable look (unless you are Greg..who looks like he has electric volts surging through his whole body).  My goal with running pictures is not to be captured walking…because I have a HUGE secret…I walk sometimes.  I don’t run all 13.1 or 26.2 miles straight through.  Walk walk walk..there I said it.  Now, photographers…take your shutter bug selves and aim that device to the other cheetahs.  No capturing my sloth moments.

Even with sloth moments…even after a less than stellar run, there is nothing that feels like the joy of crossing a finish line.  It has little to do with the fan fair..but everything to do with the journey to get you to that moment.  Its the countless hours of training – it’s that person you met on the course that you helped make it through and encouraged, its the kids hands you high fived, its the volunteers, its the mental victory of keeping going when your legs hate you…its seeing the faces of loved ones cheering like you are a hero.  Know this, to someone on the sidelines..YOU are inspiring them.  YOU look like them..YOU got out there…they identify with something about you…and now they have that spark to try.  It does  make me wonder how many people got in to running because they went to cheer someone else on.

Tomorrow…running before the sun..an attempt at a long run in this heat – let’s hope I lose the second wolf pack.

Cheetah Girl

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