Well…when I last left you wonderful readers (at least in terms of this particular story), I was preparing for my race. What race? THIS race. It’s been five months in the making and it finally took place yesterday afternoon after work.
I mean…I’ve been training for this for months. I started out when it was 30 below in the dead of winter:
I’m ready for you!!
I even trained while on vacation. I mean, here it was 6am in the middle of the Caribbean on a cruise ship, and I was at the gym workin’ it:
KILLING my morning workout!!
I trained in the cold rain:
Cold April showers? No problem!
I trained in the hot sun:
It’s frickin’ 30 degrees outside. What the heck was I thinking?
Truth be told, though, I hadn’t been training as much as I should over the past month or so. It was really combination of things. For one, I had lost my “mojo” when it came to the race itself. He wasn’t talking about it…people at work weren’t talking about it…there seemed to be very little interest. Second, I have been so stressed running around trying to get a job so I could move to Sunshine’s city with her in addition to worrying about finances and my daughter flying down to visit and a number of other things. There just hasn’t seemed to be much time to train like I was back in March and April.
Last week we set the exact date and time of the race because of pressure from people at work who hadn’t forgotten our silly little bet. It was to take place Monday at 5:30pm after work. After being home all weekend, you would think that I would have been training hard. That didn’t happen primarily because I didn’t want to injure myself in any way and give anybody an excuse if I didn’t win. I had been having shin splint issues from the second month on, so I didn’t want that to happen to me during the race.
It was quarter past five and I went to the washroom to go change into my shorts and t-shirt. I downed a Red Bull just to make sure I had a bit of “oomph” in my step and I made my way outside.
Three or four people quickly turned into what looked like thirty, and then someone came over with a video camera and started asking me questions about the race. It was a fellow co-worker who also does video editing as a side job, so who knows what he is going to come up with from this thing.
My buddy and I then went over to the “start/finish line” (i.e. a telephone pole) and had a good nervous laugh about the whole thing.
Laughing off some pre-race jitters.
My confidence from early on was waning just a little bit. I didn’t think he had been training, but I wasn’t sure if he really had or not. I had given him multiple opportunities to just quit and forget the whole thing, but he never did. I even suggested we run at 7am before it got too hot outside, but he declined because he knew a lot of people wanted to watch. This all made me feel as though he had something up his sleeve that I didn’t know about.
All of a sudden, somebody said “GO!” and off we went…
Aaaaand we’re off!
I knew my plan going in…long strides at a good pace for the first third of the course, then (hopefully) a bit of rest while he caught up to me. As soon as we took off, I heard his “coaches” (i.e. some women from work who had been walking with him and helping him train) yell out for him to take his time. I didn’t want to be distracted so I just kept on going.
I got to the point I wanted to get to and stopped. I turned around and saw that he was pretty far behind me. I waved for him to come up and talk to me for a minute (we were in a very grassy area so people couldn’t really see what we were doing). He started jogging right by me!
He stopped briefly and I let him catch his breath a bit. I told him that we could both cross the finish line at the same time if he wanted, but he declined and started jogging again. “No problem”, I thought…and I bolted past him again.
But then I started thinking that I didn’t need to kill myself to win. In fact, I was pretty confident at this point and felt I could ease up to catch my breath a bit (I’m still not in the best shape, after all). So I slowed down so he could catch up and pass me…
Wait…he was THAT far ahead of me?
At this point I could hear his cheering section (which included his wife!!) and realized that the grass wasn’t as thick here and people could see. I sped up again…passed him again…and slowed down again. I didn’t just want to rest up a bit, I wanted to make him feel as though he had a fighting chance.
We made our way around the final corner and I was just ahead of him…
Time to stop playing around.
I realized that I didn’t have the time to sit back play with him any longer because there was the (remote) possibility that he could find some burst of energy and embarrass me in the final feet of the race. So I took off…and I continued…and I didn’t slow down.
I got this!!
And in a VERY unattractive way, I finished the race first!
Wow…ugliest finish of a race ever.
I went to congratulate my pal but he looked like he was going to die. It literally took him five minutes to catch his breath enough to come shake my hand. I was concerned about him, but realized I probably didn’t look a whole lot better, either.
So the race is over, I’ve won, and now the stipulations have to take place. He owes me $50 (the REAL reason I took this bet), which I’ll take to use when buying him a dress at a local used clothing store. He has already told me that he’ll wear the dress next Friday, so it looks like it’s a done deal.
When all is said and done, we’ve both won in a way. I’ve lost 25 pounds, he’s lost almost 30 pounds. I’m now NOT adverse to trying to integrate exercise into my daily routine (seriously Sunshine…I’m not…lol) and my eating habits are a LOT better than they ever were before.
Of course, Sunshine thinks I’m now the living embodiment of a Seinfeld episode…but we all need those moments every once in awhile, don’t we?