For the third year in a row, I braved the March weather and public humiliation to run in the St. Patrick’s Day race in Newry, PA.
Newry. Population 270.
It’s a small town and a small race (116 runners this year.) I’m fine with that. I don’t like races where you feel like a Christmas shopper on black Friday trying to get one of the limited number of whatever gifts happen to be the hottest item that year (usually the one they are making the fewest of but advertising the most.)
I also like this race because they have Mrs. Grove’s pastries. This year, they had a pumpkin gob. I personally liked the lemon gob last year better, but it beats a banana or a turkey wrap any day! And Mrs. Grove makes the best cinnamon rolls in Altoona, especially if you get the peanut butter icing! There were none of those at the finish line. 😦
I need to find a race that has Krispy Kremes at the finish line. I’m sure that would take a minute off my time if I was running for one of those heavenly wonders.
As it was, I ran the race in 23:19, a new personal record for me, and good enough to place 19th overall, and first in my age group. My age group never seems to match up with my stated age of 39–apparently my birth certificate looks older than I do.
Anyway, I’m running the race. I have a separate play list of faster songs to run by that I use for short races. The weather was better this year than last–no rain/mist or slippery roads–but still rather cold at 41 degrees, not counting a bit of wind. As I’m coming down the last mile, there are two male runners in front of me. One passed me not so long ago, and I am no longer listening to the music. Rather, I am trying to calculate the ages of these two runners.
Hmmm. I’m pretty sure the other looks a little older, but it is awful close. The other one could be a little younger. Maybe a little older. Probably right around my age.
With the finish line looming–I think my GPS watch just signaled three miles of the 3.11 mile run, so time is indeed running out. Actually, distance is running out, and time is the variable here. I don’t think I really heard it. I sensed it. Like a disturbance in the Force.
If I keep my pace, and either or both of these runners are in my age range, then I’m doomed to second or third and maybe worse. (I have two silver medals from the previous two years.)
So I picture that lemon gob in my mind and pretend that there might be some green beer to wash it down (there wasn’t, but my brain at this point isn’t getting as much oxygen as my lungs labor to keep my feet moving.) I kick things into a higher gear and pass both of them right at the final turn. One block to go!
At this point I can see the finish line. It’s like I’m running in slow motion, but I think it’s just the lack of brain oxygen and the fact that I don’t run all that fast to begin with.
I don’t hear anything because of my labored breathing and my heart pounding in my ears, but I run on. I am flying now, all knees and elbows like an albatross on cocaine with his tail on fire.
Okay, I’ll wait till you process that image in your mind.
If I die, I hope there are lemon gobs and Krispy Kremes in Heaven. And green beer. Any colored beer. At this point, I’m not that picky. I just want to live long enough to cross that finish line.
Which I do.
It turned out that both the guys behind me, beaten by 5 and 9 seconds respectively, are both older than I am and in the next age group. I didn’t need to pass them after all! Interestingly, I would have also won the 39 age group as well.
I got my gold medal, a nice T-shirt and a door prize. What am I going to do with a door?
Alas, I didn’t win a door. I won 4 tickets to an Altoona Curve baseball game!
All in all, a great day!