This is also the post in which I realize how pessimism makes you miss out on things. But we’ll get to that later.
Saturday morning found me driving to the ol’ hometown. LilRunr was very excited to be spending the morning with his grandma rather than watching his mama run a race in the cold. Granted, he doesn’t really know what a “race” is or how boring it can be for a kid to wait for a 4-mile race to be over, but he’s always excited to play at Grandma’s house. She went a TAD overboard with the garage sales when she learned that she was going to be a grandmother…as a result, her house is filled with toys. Also, she makes much over the “very fun,” “delightful,” “adorable,” and “funny” dude. Attention PLUS toys? LilRunr is all about it.
I left the little man with one of his biggest fans, and waited for my teammate to find enough layers of clothing to protect him from the elements. After a couple of rounds of, “where are my mittens?” and “should I take this stocking hat or that neck/head warmer?” my mom jokingly asked, “you remembered to bring shoes, right?”
Matt’s expression changed to one of panic, and the women in his life all laughed. Bro is somewhat notorious for leaving his training shoes at a cross country course, forgetting his spikes at a track meet, etc. OF COURSE he would forget his shoes.
Luckily for him and for the status of Team M&M, he and my dad share a shoe size. One pair of borrowed shoes and we were finally on our way.
When I was talking my brother into running this race, one of my arguments was that it would be a mere hour and a half or so of his weekend. Drive to the start, pick up our packets, run for 30 minutes, and drive home. “There’s no need to stick around for awards,” I told him. “I never, EVER get an age group award. It’s part of the joy of being an ‘average’ runner. Welcome to the ‘great middle,’ broskies.”
Broskies told me that he preferred not to go into a race thinking the worst. It’s better to be an optimist, he told me. There’s a different between pessimism and being realistic, I responded. Trust me, I said. There’s no way we’ll get an award.
Off we went.
Along the way, I had several realizations:
REALIZATION #1: -9 degrees is COLD.
REALIZATION #2: This race is smaller than I thought.
REALIZATION #3: I forgot how fun smaller races can be. The atmosphere is completely different than those with thousands of participants.
REALIZATION #4: Um…we might actually get an award.
The race started right on time, with the announcer hustling people to the starting line. “I know no one wants to be standing around for too long!” The course had lots of turns, and every time we turned into the wind I was reminded of REALIZATION #1. My chin and neck were almost instantly numb. Brother, who was wearing 2 layers of pants, 3 shirts, a windbreaker, and a head/neck warmer, was likely about as toasty as a person could be.
Our first mile split was 7:16. I had hoped to average 7:30, so we were in a pretty good spot. Slightly fast, but not disturbingly so. At mile 2, we went up the biggest hill on the course and passed a guy/girl team. Our 2nd mile split was a bit slower, in keeping with the hill, running into the wind, and my attempt to “cruise” through miles 2 and 3. Mile 3 seemed loooong, and the guy/girl team passed us back and kept right on going. At the start of Mile 4, Matt suggested that if I was up for it, we could chase down our competitors. I grumbled but obligingly picked up the pace…guy/girl didn’t get any closer, however. It seems that Guy decided to take off in spite of the fact that there was absolutely no chance of him passing anyone. Girl tried to match his pace, but he quickly left her all by her lonesome…now THAT’S team spirit! Chuckle. Unfortunately, Girl’s “lonesome” pace matched my surge, so we didn’t pass anyone in the last mile, either.
We crossed the finish line together…well, Matt would probably like me to mention that, officially, he finished a whole tenth of a second in front of me. So when he promised beforehand that he wouldn’t “one step” me, he lied. Hmph. I would like to mention that my goal pace was 30:00, and our finishing times were 29:59.6 and 29:59.7. Awesome!
It seemed like there were quite a few people in front of us. Due to the “team” nature of the event, it was difficult to tell what our places actually were. How many of the people in front of us were on a team? How many were racing as individuals? You know, it’s really too cold to attempt to do that kind of math.
We moseyed inside the gym for some hot chocolate, water, and valentine gift bags. Yes, really. It was all very cute. Matt says to me, “I don’t really care if we stick around for awards,” and I thought, “yeah, I’m cold. Let’s get outta here.” We even made a joke about how awesome the trophy would look on my mantel, but alas…we were too, too slow.
This brings us to how pessimism makes you miss out on things. Several hours later, I went looking for the official results online. I’m scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling through the tiny screen of my phone. At first, I don’t see our names at all and I start to get angry. Then, I finally find us (the Non-Married Teams are after all of the Married Teams) and I feel foolish…
We won. WON! I did not see that one coming. Apparently everyone in front of us was either a solo runner or part of a married team. This is exciting! I’m so used to running a race with no expectations. In all of my post-collegiate races, I’ve only gotten an age group award one other time…at the Paris Mountain Trail Race, where I believe I was 2nd in my age group. That is a lot of running as a “participant.” I’m not sure that I can shift my thinking to consider myself a “winner.”
You know what might help? That trophy. On my mantle. The race director says I can pick it up sometime this week. Picture coming soon. 🙂