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Chasing The American Dream

May 04, 2007


I'm actually the guy in about row 5, just to the right of the R and behind a guy in a black shirt.
No, this isn’t about the fairly irrelevant lesbian movie from the 80s. Rather, this is about an unlikely occurrence last night. I ran the Corporate Challenge 5K race for the second time. Last year was the first time I’d ever run in a race. My goal this year was simply to be faster than last. I had a few things going for me compared to last year. I ran and trained more regularly, and I knew what to expect from the heat and the course itself.

The problem was, my times were slow. I really run for exercise only. I don’t really like it or think it’s fun. My best 5K time for the past month was only 31:40 so going into the race I had little expectation. Yet for some reason, I felt confident. I felt like I was challenging myself and I was not going to fail. Maybe I was a little inspired by the absence of my friend who broke his ankle just 3 days before the race.

Whatever the reason, the gun went off and I clicked my iPod into action. I selected songs to inspire me and it worked. Running over the two bridges didn’t kill me this year. I was ready for them. At the half-way point, I’d dunked myself with two cups of water to keep myself cool; something I failed to do last year. I was stunned to see my time of 14:28. I thought to myself even if I slowed to my normal turtle pace, I could break 31 minutes. The next mile was certainly the toughest as I fretted that I’d gone out too fast and had nothing left for the finish. But I just concentrated on my music, got two more water drownings, and ignored my watched until I crossed the finish line as the timer read 29:12. I’d beaten my best time by over two minutes and I still have no idea how I did it?

One thing’s for sure. I was exhausted. I think the hardest part of the race was walking from the finish line to our corporate tent where I quickly downed three Gatorade’s. It seems fairly insignificant, but for one of the few times in my life, I’m readily proud of what I did. Maybe it was the personal challenge and doing something I didn’t think was possible. Yeah, I don’t like running but I AM looking forward to next year’s race with the opportunity to do another personal best.



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