Photo: Adam Baker, Flickr Creative CommonsI just remembered that the sign up for the Peachtree Road Race was yesterday. As soon as this crossed my mind I went to the web site to register only to discover that the online registration had already closed. My only chance to still run the race is to get a copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday, fill out the form and hope I win the lottery for the last 10,000 spots in the race. I know that sounds like a lot and like I have a great chance to still get in, but I can't know that for sure. They filled 45,000 slots in less than 24 hours online. Who knows how many losers like me and the more laissez-faire types will be fighting for those slots. Oh, and finding a copy of the Sunday AJC may be difficult. I live so far south of Atlanta that it's not easy to find that paper on sale around here. It's actually easier to find a paper out of Jacksonville, FL, than it is to find the paper of record of the capital of my own state.
Here's the annoying thing. I know that it really wouldn't be a huge loss if I couldn't get into this race. After all, there are literally dozens of 10k races just as close or closer to me between now and July when the Peachtree is run. I can always run something else. After all, the whole point of this goal was to get myself in shape and prove that I'm capable of doing something I've never done before. I've already lost ten pounds in only the first month of training for the race. I've already gotten huge satisfaction from the progress I've seen in myself. If I were rational, those would be fine reasons to just shrug, put my running shoes on after tennis practice today and just run, perfectly content in the fact that I'm doing myself some good. The problem is that I'm not an entirely rational person. Only those with certain types of mental illness or "disabilities" like autism and injuries to certain parts of the brain are entirely rational. I have to admit that I feel a little crushed at the moment. It's not enough to make me quit, but it's a significant bit of disappointment, and I'm worried that it'll turn into a lens that will magnify that mild ache in the side of my left shin and any discomfort or boredom I may experience during a training run and make it that much more difficult to push on through and work toward that goal. So far, I've not missed a day on my schedule. I've even run in the dark, the rain, and near-freezing temperatures. Now I'm worried I won't have that drive to keep going.
I know I'll keep training until I find out if I won a spot in the Peachtree, and if my registration is accepted, my motivation will be renewed. If I find out I didn't make the draw, I'm not sure I'll keep it up, though. I was only planning on continuing with my current level of training until the race itself. I want to keep running after the Peachtree, but I'll have no reason to run more than ten miles a week. I can lose weight and keep fit enough for my needs at about half that much running. I do really need some big goal to drive anything that's going to require any real effort and motivation, and I've long since romanticized the Peachtree. I can find another 10k to run. Finding one is pretty easy. I never realized how common these races where until I started training and researching. During this spring there seems to be at least one every weekend just in the metro-Atlanta area alone. Many of these are run on certified courses and timed automatically by chips in the bib. They just aren't the same huge deal that the Peachtree is, and they won't be able to fill that motivational hole the Peachtree could leave.
And yes, I'm perfectly aware that this post shows that, despite my typical reputation as a rational and cavalier individual, I can be just as much of a head case as the rest of you.