As I’ve said before, I started this string of running events 7 weeks before I started the blog, so I have a little catching up to do…
Originally I had only signed up to do the 5k, but I had started the running every week business, and the following weekend (Christmas) I couldn’t find any events except a half marathon. That being the case, I thought it might be wise to try a longer distance. The morning of the race I asked if I could switch up to the 10k and they were lovely enough to let me.
This was a small race (especially the 10k). I was pacing ahead of some people before the 5k turnaround, but I was faster than very few 10k runners.
I really didn’t want to come in last. I had kind of hoped that I would never come in dead last in a running event, so I made sure that the whole time I was in front of at least one person. In the second half of the race there were still three people behind me. I thought I was okay. Then, in the last mile, the guy on the bike who comes around to check on people asked me how I was doing and I said I was doing great. Then he told me I was brining up the rear.
Of course I quickly said “no, no, no, there are three people behind me.” He replied that they had gotten tired and took a CAB back to their cars! (What?!) Then I spotted two people in front of me. We were on a public bike path, so not everyone was in the race, but these people were dressed in holiday-looking attire, so I thought they might be. I asked the man on the bicycle if those people were in the race, and neither of us could really tell from where we were, so I just ran ahead and hoped that they were.
I finally caught up to them and they were in fact in the race. I ran faster to try to pass them. They realized the last place runner was passing them, so they ran faster. It was battle of wills and legs. They ended up sprinting to the finish. I wanted so badly to catch them, but my number one goal was just to stay injury free and not push myself too hard on the way back into running. I didn’t go nuts and push myself to a place I didn’t really have. I just sucked it up and jogged on into the finish. I was officially last.
As people say, “the last place finisher is the slowest winner.” I still felt pretty good about the whole thing. I’d rather come in last than not come in at all!
The coolest part about the finish – Santa Claus himself was there to give me my medal.
The race wasn’t chip timed (or even clock timed). But according to my phone, I finished in about an hour and 30 minutes, which was what I had wanted.
(Just a little random story: Around mile 4/5 I had a slight uphill jog, and as it happened, the sun came out from behind a cloud and an inspirational Michael Jackson song (“Will You Be There?”) came on my iPod. It all came together in such a moment of perfect beauty. My eyes welled up just a tiny bit as I thought about how THANKFUL I am to be running! I’m so happy to be allowed to run as much as I want and to go outside. (I generally dislike the outdoors, but freedom is incredible. ) I am so ecstatic to let my legs carry me, and I can’t wait to just keep going farther and farther.)