Four Years Out of the Running
If I was only 4 years younger, my efforts would have been good enough for second place. Instead, however, I finished out of the medals.
This morning, I ran in the New Knoxville Fall Festival 5K race. It was a beautiful morning for a road race, and the course was flat, well-marked, and easy to follow. It started at the park, went four blocks straight toward my house, turned right for two blocks, then right again and out of town (on one road until the turn-around). Then it followed the same course back in. An advantage of that set-up was that once we came back into town, I knew exactly how many blocks we had left.
Somewhere in the first mile (probably the second half-mile), I came alongside a teenage boy who was starting to fade a little bit. He would speed up and then slow back down, and when that keeps happening, usually it means that said person is running out of steam. So I encouraged him to keep up with me. "I'll encourage you and you encourage me." I told him. So that's what we did for the rest of the race. I found out that his name is Tim, and he's an eighth-grader who runs cross country. Those were the days; I was a good cross country runner in eighth grade!
When we crossed the 2 mile mark at 18:something, he asked me, "Do you have a goal for this race?" I hadn't thought about a specific goal too much (especially since I hadn't run but maybe twice in the past two weeks!), but I told him that I'd like to finish under 23 minutes. "I'm going to pick it up once we get to the turn." he told me. That meant both of us would. And at the turn, it was only a little over 8 blocks to the finish. There was a guy about my age (in the 25-29 age group, I found out later) in front of us: I was getting ready to say, "Let's get him" when Tim beat me to the punch. I found something inside for a kick, and did catch the guy and finished in 22:06, my fastest time in quite a while.
When they passed out the awards, the guy I sprinted at the end received 2nd place in the 25-29 age group. I was shut out of the 30-34. Bummer. I came up four years out of the running. That's OK. Tim got 2nd in his age group and we had a good time running the race.