Pacing Myself

As a little kid, I loved to speed over the grass, feet flying.  Someone would holler a destination, yell “go,” and our group would dash away.  It was fun to throw myself wholeheartedly into the race, always beating everyone to the finish line.

Then I got old enough to run track.  Even though I saw myself as a sprinter, the state record holder was on my team and I wasn’t that fast.  Our coach decided that I’d do more good for the team running the 880.  That might have worked out if he’d done a little coaching – like, perhaps, explaining what that meant.

I’d always taken off as fast as possible at the start of a race, and always done well.  Then again, I’d always done the 100 and 220.  I didn’t even know what the 880 was.  For those only familiar with the current metric-measure on races, that’s not how we used to measure track events.

  • 100 – sprint down the straight stretch on one side of the track (changed to 110)
  • 220 – sprint starting in the middle of a straight stretch, around one curved end of the track, to the middle of the opposite straight stretch
  • 440 – run around the track one time
  • 880 – run around the track two times

At our first meet, the starter’s gun went off and I exploded in my usually fashion.  Not realizing the distance involved, I was well out in front of the pack for three-fourths of a lap.  Then I started wondering where on earth is that finish line?  I slowed, and slowed, and slowed some more, but kept going.

By the time I’d completed one lap I was ready to quit.  A few teammates stood at the edge of the track cheering me on, “Only one more lap! You can do it!”  One more lap? Are you crazy?! I can’t do another lap!  Pretty soon all those people I’d left in the dust at the start of the race passed me.  They’d started the race knowing something I hadn’t – the 880 is a distance run, not a sprint.

Pre-RA, I would throw myself wholeheartedly into activities, knowing that I’d be exhausted, but also knowing that I’d recover quickly.

Now it turns out that I’ve been moved to a distance run.  I’m learning to pace myself.

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2 thoughts on “Pacing Myself

  1. Great post.

    This has been true of me, even though I had RA as a child. I think I still believed I could just hurl myself head-first into things and, though there were consequences, I didn’t always connect them to my RA.

    I still do a lot (sometimes I wonder if I do more as a way of “teaching my RA a lesson”), but now I always wonder if a new venture will be too much for me. In a way it’s good; it means we plan and keep ourselves as healthy as possible. But sometimes pacing ourselves just isn’t as much fun as jumping in with both feet.

  2. Pingback: Vincible? « ∞ itis

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