I’ve always said that if I ever come in first or last in a race, my running career would be over.I would have either reached peak awesome or the depths of despair.
Well, it happened.
I ran a very informal 10k in my (very small) hometown in Wisconsin last weekend. I live in the hot, dry depths of California, so I can always blame it on the humidity. The route was a 5 k loop, with the option of running one or two laps.
The race started at 8 am, and it was already pretty hot and humid, but with a breeze. Look how cute the little kids are!
About 150 people were at the start line to run/walk to Extinguish Cancer. They had all the 10k people line up in the front. FYI–you know who ran this 10k? Ten people who ran an 8:30 min mile or faster; and me, who hovers right around the 10 min mile mark. This disparity in speed was pretty obvious right off the bat.
The fire truck blared it’s horn and we were off! The first loop was awesome. There was a breeze, it was fun and familiar, and my 5k split was right at 30 min. So I started the second loop.
At the 4 mile mark, I turned onto the long street that goes from one end of town to the other, and saw the rest of the 10k runners a full half mile ahead. I also heard some firemen at the water stop yelling “white tank top! That’s the last one! ” This was it’s own special kind of embarrassing.
The chief of police drove her golf cart and chatted with me for the last 2 miles ( it was her job to give the OK to break down the water stops.) I was very much in the “screw it, time to just have fun” mindset, so if I didn’t want to run 3 blocks? Jump in the golf cart. When I asked if the beer tent would be open, the chief radioed in to make sure there was a cold one for me at the finish.❤
When my asthma started kicking up, I was left with the decision: call my mom, who was a few blocks away, or jump in the golf cart for a detour to get my inhaler. I chose the latter. This proved to be a mistake–my poor mom ended up in a golf cart with one of the towns EMTs and found me about a half mile from the end. Because of the need for an inhaler, I was escorted the last half mile by the chief of police in her golf cart, the EMT and my mom in a second, and another EMT in a third.
I triumphantly wheezed across the finish line with my entourage, arms raised in (the opposite of) victory, chanting “Last place! Last place!” I was the very last person to cross the finish for both the 5k and 10k.
BUT! I still came in 11th place overall and 3rd place for the women. It’s the little victories!
It would have been embarrassing if I didn’t have such a damn good time. But how can you be filled with anything but warm, snuggly love when that many people rally around you to keep your spirits high. I miss how much fun living in a small town can be.