When I sign up for a Saturday 5K Walk/Run in a nearby town I think I am going to have company. I also erroneously believe the weather will remain moderate and not plunge below freezing on the day of the race. At the break of dawn on Saturday, I am forced to face some hard truths. I arrive minutes before the race by myself while my potential team mates remain at home snuggled in warm beds. With frozen appendages, fogged up glasses and very little competition I begin my wog (walk/jog) to the finish line alone.
Happily this turns out to be one of those “all’s well that ends well” experiences for me. The race starts in “waves” of one person every 15 seconds. Facing only 16 competitors, my turn to cross the start line arrives in no time at all.
All I can think as I solitarily attack this course is that my sister, Val, would wholeheartedly approve of my race strategy. She advocates racing exclusively in events where winning in at least one’s age group is almost guaranteed due to lack of competition.
Determined to join the glorious ranks of 5K icons like my good friend Terrie, I pass the one mile marker. Terrie once won a medal at a 5K in Smithfield because she was the sole participant in her age group. With thoughts of joining her as a 5K dominator, I place one frozen foot in front of the other and plod on. If only I realized how close to the front I am, I may have handled the finish a little differently.
Racing in a sort of vacuum with so few others on the course, I have no idea I am in second place for women OVERALL. When a genteel lady aided by a cane clip-clops by me, I am distracted and do not react quickly enough to thwart her. Mesmerized by the feeling that has only recently returned to my now somewhat thawed out feet, I wave and let her go by. This lack of competitive vigor so close to the finish line costs me an extra $5 in gift certificates.
I am a Champion
On the bright side, for the price of the race, a early morning wake-up at 5am, a ten mile drive to the event parking and a near hypothermic episode, I get a little exercise, some fresh air AND I take third place overall for women in this contest. That is the highest ranking I ever achieved in a race in my life. Assuming we exclude the two best racing costume awards I won. Once I got a prize for my sprint as a giant elf and once for lumbering along as a Christmas tree.
My prizes today include a $10 gift certificate at a local running store (hope they have walking gear) and a personalized tote bag. Of course there are always the bragging rights – let’s not forget those! But I can’t get too big-headed, I only surpass the oldest racer who is 80 years young by 1 minute and 32 seconds. I could hear her walker wheels squeakily devouring the pavement behind me near the end!
Riding the Rails
Other exciting news this week includes an off-road ride in the shadow of the Dragoon Mountains. Leyman and Jane lead a small group of Jeeps along the railroad tracks near our park. While the dirt paths that we follow are not technically difficult, they do run parallel to some very busy train tracks. I never use 4 wheel low on this adventure, but it is still an exciting day trip. For example, a couple of trail sections squeeze me between the rails on my left and deep drop offs on my right.
Continuously scanning my rear view mirror, I begin planning to eject if a train comes barreling up the tracks behind me. Because you know the engineer will blow the whistle right beside my Jeep in the hope that I will catapult out of the jeep to entertain the train crew. (Who wouldn’t?). In an act of excellent leadership (or is it mercy), Jane and Leyman lead us to an ice cream store at the end of the trail. That makes it a perfect ride!
So What's Next?
On New Year’s Day, just down the road a very special 5k will “kick” off at 9:00am. The race is call the New Ear’s Bray 5K. Runners in this race don’t have to be alone. They have the option of racing as a team with a burro. I know you all would love to see photos of me trying to coax a burro through a tunnel on New Year’s Day (again, who wouldn’t?). I will think about it, but I will likely travel to the course and celebrate with the spectators. Or MAYBE I could get someone to pay to drag me through the course?! As I am sure Stormy would have attested, I have a fair amount of practice being stubborn 🙂
8 Replies to “Walk, Sunny, Walk”
Laughed out loud at your running adventure. God bless you girl for participating in the cold weather. You’re right though….bragging rights are totally yours. Just keep saying THIRD overall… you’re awesome! Miss u.
You are awesome too! Glad it made you laugh – be safe and Merry Christmas!!
I got a big chuckle out of this one, CONGRATULATIONS, not so much on the race but for getting up at that UNGODLY hour!!! You only get up at that time in the morning to make a required house or AIRPLANE payment, not to just walk around and freeze. I thought about Sandy and I coming out to keep you straight, then I remembered you saying you had a stubborn streak, between YOURS and my WIFE’S I would probably end up doing the race by myself at that time of day. Mercy…….what a scary thought. Love ya take care. GOD BLESS
Jim & Sandy
Glad you got a chuckle! I can just picture us and the burros all out in the road at dawn, what a mess!! Love you guys too – Merry Christmas!
If you join the burro race and run/walk with a burro and wear an appropriate New Years costume (maybe the New Years baby) me and my dominator wife will load up the RV and make a beeline for Benson just to watch and of course to share some New Years cheer.
BTW good story 🙂
A Baby New Year outfit might be a little too “exposed” for the cool temps I expect on New Year’s Day. Gosh as much as I would LOVE to see you guys, I may have to wait for the next opportunity!!
Reminds me of the time I was named to the All-State Band (1962) because no one else tried out in the baritone saxaphone spot.
Hahaha!! Guess we all have to learn to take a win whenever one is offered! Had no idea you also played the baritone sax. Next time we meet, we must have a jam with multiple musical instruments for each of us!