It was a brisk cold, clear Oregon morning in the little town of Glide. The line up to register for the three races, was much longer then expected. The small table had forms that needed to be filled out and there was little done to make the process efficient. There was a surprising bunch of 40 and older, all dressed in what I can assume is higher tech gear then my shorts,Tee-shirt and river shoes.
Some faces I knew, some Tina knew. One of the advantages of living in a smaller town area. The crowed seemed a nervous excited about the event. There was a 1 mile run, 5k and a 10k. I have not been running all that long. This was the first 10k I have had the ability to run.
The course was a large triangle shape that ran alongside the river through a park and down the main highway for two laps. My mind briefly flirted with the idea of being first. Which was quickly ridiculed into submission by my concept of reality. I actually had a couple of goals. I wanted to finish the race and I wanted to run non-stop. Running like Kenenisa Bekele and finishing in 26min 46.19 seconds was not a goal.
It was cold enough that I left on my hoodie as the group lethargically headed to the starting line. Oddly enough no one wanted to approach the line and stood a wary distance away. Not knowing any better I went right up to the line and scooted to the far right hand side of the road. There was some arm waving and stretching and then the rules were explained. With a ready, steady go we went...
I decided to keep to the far right hand side of the road and find a pace. My instinct was to match each grouping as it formed along the run. There was a large herd that quickly took the lead. That human cloud would no doubt break down into smaller components. I admit my ego did take some bruising as groups slowly passed me, I tried to comfort myself by focusing on my goal.
As this fore-footed running style is still quite new I tried to focus on running smoothly and letting the full foot touch, allowing the calf muscle to have a moment of relaxation. Eventually I was running all alone in a further crushing thought that I was in last place.
I must mention that this stretch of road in Oregon is gorgeous and interesting. Lots of things to see at a 6 MPH pace. There was very little wind other then a river chilled gust. The canopy of tree's shading and retreating from the road. I had settled into a pace and my wind was good. I was not under any duress. My mind was wondering exactly how long it would take as the path seemed much longer then it should have been. Finally, the course finish line appeared. While this WAS the finish line, I still had another lap of the course. Tina and the boys were there. I handed off my hoodie and watch and kept. running.
Almost immediately I noticed the difference in weight. I also realized that I was not all that fatigued. So I threw my ego a bone and aimed my sights on the last person who passed me. This lap I would try to catch her. It is a machine like rhythm that took me by surprise. Music is something very personal and emotional. It is an important expression and I hold it in awe for its natural and supernatural existence. This running cadence brought to mind many different songs that played unbidden in my mind.
I greatly increased my running for a good minute and then slowed to recover. I had made up a good amount of ground. I was running faster then before or my opponent was slowing. The new goal was a nice diversion. Something was happening in my left shoe that felt wet, I figured it was a blister. There was nothing painful, just an annoyance of having to doctor that up later. My calf muscles were feeling tight, despite my efforts to relax each step. Heart and wind was perfectly fine. I caught up and passed the closest runner in front of me and it did feel pretty good. There was actually quite a few people on the course. A glance showed that they had started the 5k. (The nametag had a yellow dot).
I looked ahead to the next runner. I did not know If I could make up the distance but I decided to keep up with the faster, passing pace, I had acquired. At least I knew I was no longer in last place. Tina assures me that there were plenty of folks after me. I passed two lumbering masses I recognized from earlier. A couple of boys, late teens, who had ran out of energy to run any further! I was happy to have more people to pass.
As I headed down the final approach, again Tina and the boys were there and lofted a cheer. I went into a near sprint to shave a couple of 10ths off my time. As I ran through they had a ribbon and a glass of sports drink. Both were appreciated.
I headed back to find my time. It was just six seconds over an hour. Which is a pretty pathetic time for a 10k runner. The average falls closer to 35-45 min.
Still, I was very happy that I finished and ran non-stop. Now for some rest, ice, ibuprofen and leg elevation.