One whole year since my last post on this blog. Many things have happened meanwhile, and I was almost forgetting I had a blog where to tell you about my trainings and my races.
I felt like I had to write something today, D+1 after the Half Marathon of Annecy Lake.
It's a strange day: Sunday morning, early springtime. The sky is blue, everything should look perfect, but... Perfect it actually isn't!
I know myself, I know that I never feel ok before a competition. One always has the sensation he will fail, he is not ok... But that's quite normal, and usually, the more you're trained, the worst you feel before the start.
But on this damn Sunday morning, I know it's just not like as usual. Something is really not going the right way, and forcing me to think this ain't the true, is not really usefull.
This is the mood in the morning, and that's the very same mood when, at 14h00, I find myself ready to go; I pretend to be fine, but I'm nervous, and can't seem to be able to really calm down.
Ready, gun shot, go. And 1km is gone, too fast. 3'04''/km... no, that's not too fast, that's simply crazy!
I know that, I try hard to slow down, and 2nd kilometer is gone. 3'18''/km, ok... this is now too fast, but at least a bit more reasonable!
It's hard, at the beginning, when you have so many people around you, and you know that you should normally be able to run with them. So you try to let things go anyway, even if, somewhere in your mind, you know you're simply messing up all your training up to that day.
At last, I seem to find the right pace, when I pass by the 3km in 9'49''. That makes 3'26 for the last kilometer. Even a bit too slow, but that's ok, if I want to recover a bit.
Nevertheless, stupidity is stronger than ever, and I start to slightly accelerate again. 3'21''/km is the average pace for the next few kilometers.
Between the 8th and the 9th km, the first difficulties: a few slopes to climb, short but hard enough to break the rhythm and to kill my legs.
Toward the end of the 10th km, you find yourself at the highest part of the track, and it's pretty soon time to run down and turn back. That's (at least I think) where I can recover a bit, and it will be better afterwards.
Couldn't get wronger than this. Turning back suddenly meant facing the wind, and that was my first (methaforic) great fall.
I'm still "almost" ok until the 11th kilometer, but the 12th is too hard. Way too hard. My legs are not legs anymore: who did change them with eban wood instead?
I can't, I can't anymore... No, you can!!! That's my pride, speaking, but my legs are stronger, this time... I have to, I really have to stop. 12km+100... still 8km to go, and I find myself walking. How can that be true? I can hardly believe it, but that's how it is, and sometimes you have to face the truth, even if that's not exactly how you expected it to be.
The next few kilometers are a mix of emotions, and of subsequent efforts in order to not completely throw away this damn day.
I start to run again, together with someone I know, but they're too fast (!?!), and I have to slow down again. I try again with the next group, but again I don't seem to be able to follow it.
A young, black girl arrives, and I start to run next to her. This time, more than the will to continue my race, is the will to help someone else which forces me to run. I even run for two kilometers holding a bottle in case she might be thirsty.
I see my friend overtaking me: "bon courage, Cédric... vas-y, c'est trop bien ce que tu fais"... that's what I told him, or what I think I've told him... I don't even know, I was too tired to think at the time.
Few hundreds of meter after, that's where one of my friend's girlfriend tells me that he's in great difficulties too. That's like someone suddenly giving you energy after you've seeked for it for a long time. He's in difficulties, I might catch him and help him to do better then me.
I accelerate, and that's incredible: how can I find myself running at 3'18''/km on the 19th km, after I couldn't run at 3'50'' until a few meters before? But, sometimes, that's the way things go.
I catch my friend, just when he stops running and starts walking.
No, damn, no!!! You can't stop now, it's 2km to go! Stop at 10km, stop at 15km... but not right now! Grit your teeth, you can't give up! Not now!
This is, more or less, what I told my french friend. I was angry, with him, with myself, with that damn day going so bad. But, hey, he listened to me, and started following me.
It's strange... at that time, I felt like I would have been able to continue running faster until the end, but... That was not anymore my race... Meanwhile, it had become his race, and I stayed with him for one kilometer more.
Then, again, something happened... People who had overtaken me before, which I then overtook to rejoin my friend, arrived again, and... Well, pride is pride is pride!!!
I suddenly found myself running with them. 1km to the end, now, and time to prove myself that, after all, still I'm some kind of an athlets!
That's how I approached the finish line. That's what forced me to fight against myself, more than against the runner next to me, to cross that line before him. But you know, when something has to go wrong, it simply will.
50m, only 50m to run. 50m!!! That's when my energies, all of my energies, suddenly finished. That's when someone stole the earth from beneath my feet. That's when the second great fall happened.
The second great fall, the real great fall.
The other runner was gone, but even worst, I was lying on the ground, almost unable to even understand what happened. Legs simply decided it was time for a rest, or what?
With thousends of sensations all crossing my mind at the same time, I saw people coming to me, to help me, to see if I was ok, holding a wheelchair. What? A wheelchair?
With forces coming from my head, rather then from my legs, I forced myself to stand up.
Your race will finish down there, not 50m before.
I rised, and with a last, terrible effort, I was there. Pride, pride, pride.
I could have stop at 12km, I could have stop at 15km... I couldn't stop at 21,05km...
That's how I finished my half marathon in Annecy. That was the end of my last effort, and where my dream finally crashed, on that hot, springtime day...