Or "the worst race I've run since I started this whole running thing"...whichever title sounds better.
Troy and I ran the annual Reindeer Run 5k this morning. The race passes through a course that I run regularly and the t-shirts always rock so this is one of those races I try to never miss. Even if I have to run it so slowly I'm getting beat by people running with dogs.
I knew going into it that it would just be a regular 3 mile run on my regular running course and the only reason I even bothered wearing my Garmin was because I knew without it I'd run too fast and make my foot/knee problem worse. So, there was a little method to my madness, and besides that I really only did it for the t-shirt.
I met up with my running partner Tim, and my new running partner Steve. Steve is just getting back into running after years of sitting on the sofa for hours on end, watching Oprah and eating donuts (he's a police officer so I think that's what they do, right?**) At any rate, he's really come a long way in a few short weeks, including already running a 16+ mile long run! Holy Cow! At any rate, he was trying to best his time of 36 minutes for the 5k and since I knew I wasn't running 12 minute miles, I figured he wouldn't be either. The three of us ran and walked and talked and goofed off as usual. At some point Tim decided he'd give being a drill instructor a try and started yelling at Steve to pick up the pace for 10 seconds, slow down, lengthen your stride, take long walks or short runs (or something like that). At any rate, he was barking all kind of orders at Steve, and well, I just thought it was hilarious. I was just waiting for Steve to hit him or spit on him or throw a Sponge Bob Square Pants bathroom sized cup full of cold water on him. But, he didn't. Dang. As we began the climb on the 2nd (and final) hill of the course I began to pick the pace up. Steve was slowing down (probably trying to get away from Tim) and I was hoping that the sight of my rear end might make them want to run faster***. Besides, for some crazy reason I tend to get faster climbing hills than I am at running a flat course. So, I kept on going and a few hundred yards later Tim dropped Steve and caught up with me. We ran the next 3/4 of a mile together while Tim tried to figure out if I was gonna drop the hammer on him and take off. I reassured him that my lovely strolling pace of 11 minute miles was what I had intended on maintaining because for me, this race wasn't about PRing...it was all about the t-shirt. About 1/4 of a mile from the finish line he took off and I, holding true to my word, finished up in 32:51. Just shy of an 11 minute pace but close enough to not feel like I lied. And Steve PRed by a few minutes, despite the fact that my rear end was far enough ahead of him that it served as no motivating force whatsoever.
The funny thing about the whole race (besides how ridiculously slow I ran it in) was that along the way I passed a few Macon Tracksters and they all kept saying "Troy really finished well" or "Troy sure did have a great race". I was like, "thanks guys...thanks for rubbing in the fact that my husband has amazing running genes, while I on the other hand tend to be on the gimpy side. But, thanks for telling me and I'm glad he had a great race." Of course because I've been married for less than 2 months, I refrained from saying that to anyone and just smiled and grit my teeth.
As I crossed the finish line, I finally asked Mr. Runner Extraordinaire himself (that would be Troy) if he had a good race. He got this big crap-eating grin on his face and said "Yes...yes I did." So, I followed on with "well, what was your time?" His response:
"WHAT? OMG?!!?! Really? Really? Are you serious? You just broke 20 minutes on a 5k AND PRed by like 2 whole minutes?? Really?? Do you know how awesome that makes you?? Do you think our kid(s) will get your running genes??? Really? That's awesome."
No wonder everyone was telling me what a good race he had! And to top it off he came in first place for his age fair and square (unlike me, that gets first place because no one else shows up). And to make it even better he got a real live medal for it (versus his third place grade school ribbon they gave him last year). And to make it even even even better everyone kept coming up and telling him congratulations and temporarily swelled his head to the size of the Goodyear Blimp. But, it's worth it. It was all worth it to see that crap-eating grin on his face.
I guess now that the wedding's over and he can really train like he should, he's going to continue to be on fire. That's fine with me. I have no problems being known as the "wife of that guy who runs so damn fast." Nope, no problem whatsoever!
Congratulations Troy! You worked for it and did it! And I couldn't be more proud to call you my husband with the amazing running genes!
**Just kidding Steve. I know you don't watch Oprah.
***I wasn't kidding about that part.