Reflections On The Way To The Finish Line

I remembered the track at Winston Churchill. Its 800 metre perimeter at points gravel, at points concrete, and at points dirt. Its entire length is narrow in bredth. Affording just enough room to accommodate 2 people shoulder-to-shoulder.

Yet despite all of this, Winston Churchill is home to a myriad of running groups, fitness clubs, pedestrians, dog walkers and a sundry of local denizens.

It has been my home for speed workouts these past few months. A place to hone my skills. In searing heat. In unforgiving rainy deluges. Week in and week out.

It is where I train with friends who cheer for and inspire me. Friendships that have formed out of a fusion of mutual support, respect, and something akin to Stockholm Syndrome as a result of the tumults of track workouts.

And it was these friends on thatΒ track at Winston Churchill which flashed through my mind in my final kilometre of the Eaton Downtown Dash 5k this morning.

At 800 metres from the finish I could hear our group leader counting us down to start another sprint repeat. Her dedication to us verging on the maternal.

At 600 metres from the finish I could see a grove of pine tree in my mind’s eye. The trees that stand 200 metres into our laps at Winston Churchill. And I could also feel my friends around me as we each willed each other through yet another exhausting lap and yet another rewarding finish.

At 400 metres from the finish I imagined the tennis courts we would pass halfway through our training laps. When concrete yields to dirt. When the final push for home hits. And when quietly but meaningfully we, my friends and I, would mutter encouragements. As much for each other as for our own selves.

At 200 metres from the finish I could hear my friends cheering for me. Those speedy ones already done, whom we all aspire to match. If only once. I could hear them exhorting me. Clapping for me. I could feel each of their spirits as I rounded the final turn this morning and made the slight but bitter climb to the finish.

And when I set a new PB, when I collected second place in my division, when I faced the cameras at the awards ceremony, I thought of these friends; I thought of my time at Winston Churchill; and I smiled.

I couldn’t have done it without them.

Facing the photographers at the awards ceremony

Facing the photographers at the awards ceremony

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22 comments

  1. razkristi · · Reply

    Congratulations! You just keep getting faster πŸ™‚
    Hope D had a good run too!

    1. Thanks Kristi! D did very well and had a huge negative split!

  2. razkristi · · Reply

    Pass on my congrats to D too. We are all ready for tomorrow’s army run. Mike and the boys are doing the 5 and I am heading out for a 7k run along the canal and then the half marathon. No racing it for me, just slow and steady Looking forward to it.

    1. Will definitely do so!

      And good luck to all of you tomorrow! I know you’ll all do great.

      Looking forward to your race report πŸ˜ƒ

  3. Congrats Rod!!! Nice Run!

    1. Thanks Bill! I feel really good about it! Unlike right after the race where though I felt really good about the race I also felt really sick post race from all the lactic acid.

      1. Was that why I felt nauseous after that Half Marathon Trail run? I thought it was the GEL’s

      2. Hey Bill! It could be πŸ˜ƒ

        When we push our effort levels beyond our aerobic capacity we end up flooding our systems with lactic acid. Aerobic functioning occurs when we exert ourselves but in a way where we can still hold a conversation while running.

        If you found in your race that you were running too fast to talk, then you were running anaerobically. The longer you function in an anaerobic state the more lactic acid builds up. And that can lead to feeling sick and nauseous and why some runners will actually throw up.

  4. Keep this up, and you will blow your chance to go to Boston. You’ll be to busy planning your trip to Rio…

    1. Aw shucks Raymond ☺️ Thank you!

      I am really happy about yesterday’s race and hopeful that it will bode well for next month!

  5. Nice job on the PB and congrats on medaling!

    1. Thanks Woody! I’m really really happy πŸ˜ƒ

  6. You’re one of the unicorns of the running world, aren’t you? Speedy in short AND long distances! Is there anything you can’t do? 😁 Bravo, Rod! You really are an inspiration, with your dedicated training and performance, but most of all, your unbridled passion for the sport.

    1. Aw shucks ☺️ Thanks NT!

      We really do feed off each other in the best possible ways in the running community don’t we?

      We hear about each other’s training and races. We learn from each other. And we take inspiration from what our friends are doing.

      We cheer for each other and in some way their accomplishments rub off on our own selves and we become inspired.

      I know with everything you have done and achieved it has helped me to keep going out there. And I thank you for that πŸ˜ƒ

  7. Congrats on the personal best! You’v earned it!

    1. Thanks Chad πŸ˜ƒ

  8. Awesome work Rod! Congrats ☺

    1. Thanks Shawn πŸ˜ƒ

      Hope you’re doing well.

  9. incredible post. loved it.
    lol… “akin to Stockholm Syndrome”… I died.

    1. Thanks Q πŸ™‚

  10. Andrea Hong · · Reply

    Love this post!!
    I can just visualize every curve and bump along the track and feel the energy.
    The feeling is mutual my friend! I think of our team and you guys get me through the tough times.
    Congrats Rod!!

    1. Thanks Andrea! I’m so glad you got a chance to read this post and that you like it. You are certainly one of the people I was referring to and thinking about. I am so glad you’re out there running with me, with us. I really enjoy your spirit!

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