Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sometimes you just have to show up . .

That's probably a great life lesson!

No doubt about it, I'm a slow runner!  I try.  I train . . . sort of.  But I'm the president of the "Back of the Pack Club."  And it doesn't upset me calling our club meetings to order in a marathon or ultra.  Quite frankly it's fun!

But every so often I get this weird feeling inside.  One I don't get very often.  Competitiveness.  And not just competitiveness with myself and my past times.  I want to outrun somebody . . . anybody!

When I run those longer distances, I need to simply drink a beer and go take a nap . . . the feeling will pass.  First, there are just too many really good 60+ runners out there.  And they all show up for these marathons and ultras.

But my discovery is that these fast, senior runners may NOT show up for a 5k.  Plus, at a 5k there are usually plenty of new runners that are struggling just to finish a 3.1 mile run . . . forget the speed!  Ahhhh . . . victims . . . er . . . competitors!

OK . . . I haven't gotten my speed up where I can really be competitive, but for right now it sure feels good passing people!  And the perfect format for making me feel competitive was yesterday's Skirtchaser 5k in Raleigh!  A race of over 700 folks!

The format plays right into my hand.  The women start the race first.  The men have to wait 3 minutes, then we start.  Now . . . three things happen (all of which also work to my advantage!).  First, the women that are planning on walking the 5k are starting in front of me so I get to pass them like they are walking!!  Second, many of the women run the first part of the race slow so their partners and friends can catch up to them . . . ahhh more passing!  And third, some of the women intentionally hang back just to have fun with the guys!

So . . . at yesterday's race I started passing people early and kept passing them the whole way!  I was smokin'!!  Truth be known, probably everyone I passed was either a walker, a first-time racer or a very new runner!  Still . . . I passed them!

Sure, my final 5k time was almost a minute slower then the 5k I ran a week ago.  But . . .it was hotter . . . annnnd . . . the course had more hills . . . annnd . . . I had to weave through all those other runners I was passing . . . annnnd . . .well, I'm sure there are more excuses I could come up with if I thought more about it!

But there was one person I didn't pass that I perhaps could have . . . and his name is Ron Weidenfeller.  I've never met Ron . . . I'm sure he is a really great guy.  But he beat me . . . and by ONLY 15 seconds!   15 seconds!!!!!  15 seconds between me and my destiny.  A first place finish!  15 freakin' seconds!  I'm SURE I had 15 seconds in me.  Damn it!

But I did get second place . . . just by showing up.  No other 60-64 year olds!  And I would have placed #3 of 6 in the 55-59 age group.

There was one 65-69 year old and one 70-79 year old (both beat me!), but I kick one 80 year old's ass!

1 comment:

  1. LOL Frank :) It does give me hope that if I remain patient enough, then eventually enough people will have given the sport up for me to get an award - my only other option is to find a race that gives awards in monthly increments, I can hear it now..... "and third place in the 45 years and 5 months category is JIMBO!!!"


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.