I'll save you the excruciatingly boring details of complicated race day logistics because everyone, parents and otherwise, have complicated stuff going on. But I will say, getting to the start line this morning was especially challenging and, indeed, very much in doubt until about 5 minutes before the race. My warm-up was far from ideal and happened long before the race to accommodate La Cocotte's 1 km race (8:55 !!). Then there was last minute nursing and escaping toddlers and, oh yes, I said I'd spare you. I was standing near the start line trying to decide whether to race (because it seemed like it was not going to be an easy 19 minutes for hubby) when the organizers started announcing the elites. They brought them out one by one. Clearly they had warmed up properly and were focused. They got to start at the front of the pack. They were mostly women with whom I race all the time, sometimes I beat them, sometimes they beat me. But today the focus was on them. I was just the random mom seemingly on the sidelines who was still nursing seconds before the start, had carried her toddler during the 1 km, and who appeared frazzled.
It hit me. I run better this way. I run better unnoticed. As soon as I have any sort of attention or pressure, sadly, I choke. I was never a championship runner in university. I was a great time trial runner. I have been one of those elite, invited athletes with the free entry and introduction and inevitably I run far slower than the times I ran previously which garnered me the invitation in the first place. I don't run well when things are perfect. When I have the perfect sleep, the perfect warm-up, the perfect conditions... choke. Give me complicated logistics and obscurity and I will shine. Today I beat all of the elites except one. I am sure I would have had a very different outcome had a been one of them. So I`ll pay the expensive entry fee (it`s peanuts compared to what I paid for the Lulu Lemon shorts anyway). It`s well worth it to finally break 18:30 again.