winning the one and only race of the year!
This weekend was our small town's big yearly festival and one of the annual events is a 5K/8K run. (I had thought it was a 10K before, but I was mistaken.) To my knowledge, this is the only 5K or 8K race in the county. All. year. long.
Are we a little fitness-backwards here? Anyway....
I was thrilled to come out and participate in this event and was very curious to see who else would be there. There are a few other people I know in town who run occasionally, but I wasn't sure who would come to race.
There were approximately three people milling about a half hour before the race started, including the woman taking registrations. When I filled out my form, I asked her how many people had signed up for the 8K and she said I was the thirteenth. As in there were only 13 people in the race, 30 minutes prior to start time.
I didn't know whether to be sad that there were so few participants for our town's singular running event or thrilled that I might have a chance at winning this thing. As the rest of the runners arrived over the next 20 minutes, I scoped them out to decide how fast they looked and which race they'd be in. There were two women who looked like they might be contenders, but I was pretty sure they were in the 5K. It was so bizarre to actually thinking about not just finishing a race, but possibly winning. And not just an age group, but the whole event! I tried to channel my little sister who at age 17, has won dozens of races, including a women's 5K of nearly 2000 participants. (We didn't exactly get the same running genes...) Everybody looked pretty casual, except two serious-runner men types with little belts for their race numbers. (I assumed they were from out of town.)
At 8:00, they herded our small group to the start line and very uncermoniously started a stop watch and told us to, "Go on." I went out fast and was only behind a few high schoolers (who I was pretty sure were only 5Kers) and one of the serious racing men. The other serious-runner caught up to me in just a moment. He and I talked briefly and it turned out he was local, too and lives near the school where I teach!
Of course, if you remember, he was a serious running type though, and while being very nice about it, left me in the dust very quickly. The course went through all the same little neighborhoods I normally run through and I was just by myself the rest of the race. They had little arrows at the corners where we were supposed to turn, but that was it. I could see the orange jersey of the serious runner ahead of me (looking back every so often to make sure I made the right turn), but didn't see anybody else until a little loop about mile 3. When I saw the next runner was a good bit behind me, but not completely out of distance, it gave me some motivation to keep up the pace!
I picked up the pace a little on the last mile and sprinted the last tenth where there were about 10 spectators cheering. People were smiling and the guy wrote down my time at the end, but I was instantly disappointed because I knew I must not have won. The high school girl must have run the 8K because surely they would have congratulated me on winning if I was first, I thought.
I thought I'd have a decent time if nothing else so I asked for my time and for what place I came in and honestly the stopwatch guy looked a little perplexed that I'd ask for either. He told me, "Oh it was somewhere around 44 minutes and you were second after that guy in the orange."
Well, that was good enough for me! I was so ridiculously excited and ran over and high-fived the orange jerseyed runner. It was the one and only race I will probably ever win! I thought it was pretty darn exciting! I think I'm supposed to even get a trophy.
So, bask in the glory, becuase this is only post I'll ever write about winning a race! Thanks, small town of non-runners! : )