Once upon a time, about a year ago, I encouraged, nagged, and cajoled a friend of mine into signing up for the Charlottesville 10-Miler. It was initially an uphill battle, but when I started questioning his manhood, the deal was done.
Although he had played football in college and was a much more talented natural athlete than I, his goals at the outset were modest. It wasn’t long, though, before his competitive and goal-oriented nature took over. His initial quest to simply “finish the race” quickly morphed into “finish the race without walking”, and before long it was “run a sub-10 minute mile pace”, then “break a 9 minute mile pace”.
He was gunning for me, and I knew it.
When race day came, he took off like a 6’4″ rabbit. I was a bit concerned – while I wanted to beat him as badly as he wanted to beat me, I wanted him to have a good experience, and at the pace he was running, I thought he was headed for trouble. He held on, though, and I wasn’t able to catch up with him, and pass him, until around mile 9. He has been living, and re-living, that moment for the past year, determined not to let it happen again.
Did I mention he was gunning for me?
I ran a PR last year, and I beat him by less than 40 seconds. I’m going to have to take at least another 5 minutes off to beat him again.
Remind me to keep my mouth shut next time.