Sunday, July 1, 2012

Another Four Years

Today I finally returned home from Eugene after a long and exhausting two weeks.  Over the course of seven days I raced a 10k and two 5ks, ending in severe disappointment.  Words are hard to come by to describe the emotions and feelings coursing through my mind.  The one thing I can articulate is my heart felt thanks to all those who believe in me and continue to believe.  Your support, encouragement, and love has been wonderful and makes me want to prove to you how great of a runner I can be.  The messages, calls, emails and support have been tremendous.  Unfortunately my body was not where it needed to be for the 10k.  Going into the race I knew I was coming off a few days of not running and over two weeks without working out due to illness.  I was wishfully hoping that I was finally completely healthy- and well rested.  But as soon as the gun went off and a mile raced, I knew it would take a miracle.  I put myself in position, hoping that I could trick myself into racing opposed to surviving, but knowing how my body was responding to the effort, it was not to be.  Demoralized I couldn’t compete in the one race I had focused my entire year on, I jogged across the line heart broken.  For the rest of the week I was in a fog.  I tried to pump myself up, knowing I still had a chance in the 5k and still had two more races to run- but all I wanted to do was flee from Eugene, head tucked low, tail between my legs.  In the first round of the 5k I tried to get my head back, tried to escape the fog and disappointment by going to the lead early, and lead the entire race.  The body responded well, the legs embraced the pace and hinted that my body might be returning to its normal self.  The mind, however, thought differently.  I could not outrun my own head.  Nothing changed.  The doubts, the disappointment, the shame- not shame in the failure to qualify for the Olympics- no, but a disgrace in not being able to compete.  By the time the 5k finals rolled around, there wasn’t much I could do.  I knew I was fit, I knew I could run with everyone in the field, but mentally I was already destroyed.  I raced, I hung on, I actually felt surprisingly good.  The drastic pace changes, elbowing, fighting for position, was easy.  I was relaxed.  I was calm.  When the pace quickened I was ready, was in position and responded.  A faint glimmer even arose in my head with a little over 400m to go, that yes I could do this.  But unfortunately, I could not.  I didn’t have the extra gear that I needed, and again, the fog overwhelmed my head.  Now back in Hanover, it is time to get myself healthy again, both physically and mentally.  There are more races to run.  I know I am fit, I know that I am ready to race, it’ll just be four years before I get another chance to live out a dream.
Until next time,
Ben

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