The running store coach placed his hand upon my shoulder and then spoke, "These will be the final and most important words of guidance. For these will be the Ten Commandments of Racing. Observe my remarks, my athletes."
1. You shall have no coaches besides me. Do not be tempted by what others may tell you of rest walks, of combating blisters, of negative splits, of eliminating side stitches or new and tantalizing energy bars. I am your tutor in running shoes and you shall follow and observe only what I have taught you so that you may live to comfortably run today and on days to come.
2. You shall not look around you and covet another racer's multi-colored wick away moisture singlet, matching shorts, racing shoes, polycarbonate non slip nose piece sunglasses, running watch with ergonomically designed buttons, blister-free socks, nor perspiration wisking running hat.
3. You shall not wrongfully assume a place or position in the starting line area that is not reflective of your estimated and appropriate pace per mile. To do so would be to take a spot from your fellow runners, which they have rightfully earned, and literally place you in a position of failure.
4. You shall try to dispose of your drink cups, food wrappers, band-aid packaging and anti-inflammatory pill containers in the appropriate garbage can and do your best to avoid having to create an impromptu restroom.
5. You shall not lose your poise nor sight of your expected pace due to the excitement and adrenaline rush of the race nor the faster speed of other participants. For to do so, would be assure you a rendezvous in the unforgiving zone of depletion where darkness and discomfort will accompany you.
6. You shall never become overly discouraged by the feelings of your body at any particular point in time. You may experience a second wind and/or you may meet the wall, but do try and enthusiastically proceed with forward movement at all times.
7. You shall applaud and courage your fellow runners for they are your companions in commitment. Share your drink at the aid station, your space on the road, your post race refreshments - - and do not lie about your finish time.
8. You shall not elbow, push, poke, trip, cut in front of, jostle, run too close behind, shove or step on the foot of any other runner you encounter in the land of racing. Nor shall you spit, hurl, blow, throw up or toss any bodily product to anyplace other than a trash can or the side of the road.
9. You shall not use excuses for a race performance beneath your expectations including too much wind, the temperature, limited rest room facilities, hills on the course, chafing, inadequate carbo-loading, aid station lines or inaccurate split times. Most importantly, you will never, ever, ever, blame your coach.
10. You shall indeed finally cross the finish line in your land of racing. You will slowly move forward on shaky legs as you perform the lactic acid shuffle. At that moment do not be lost within yourself and forget to give appreciation to the race director, volunteers and sponsors for they are also your providers. Without them we are alone and without a t-shirt collection.
From NEOPHYTE RUNNER
I must confess though, that I have not followed #2 very well.