Monday, August 19, 2013

That's not me...

...finishing the 26th Annual Windrunner 10K Race in Wheaton yesterday. But I was there. And I did finish. You can look it up.

That's me, Michael Racy (a more appropriate name for a runner, don't you think?), finishing at 183 overall out of 272 listed. Okay, okay, so I finished in the bottom third. (But I had bib number 310 so there had to be more than 272 runners. Did that many simply drop out of the race? Wimps.)

A better page to consult is the one grouped by age. In the Male 55-59 category that greyhound Racy finished 9th out of 16 -- in the bottom half, sure -- but in the Top Ten of his age group! My time, you'll notice, was 1:02:05.2 which is less than twice the course record of 32:10 set way back in 2004. My goal for the day was to average less than ten minutes per mile. If you look at the column on the far right you'll see that my average was ... 10:01. Ugh!

Did I do my best? (Does anyone ever, really?) Could I have given just a little bit more out there? I suppose; after all, you can always squeeze a little more toothpaste out of the tube.

But I enjoyed the experience. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful setting. In fact, it was probably the nicest race I'd ever been.

And the food was to die for! (Which I almost did.) If I had known what a great spread there would be I might have skipped the race altogether. Besides the usual water, bananas and bagels, the race organizers had lox, two kinds of cream cheese, smoked duck and turkey (!), pizza, cookies, trail mix and watermelon. (And I'm sure I'm leaving something out.) It was great!

(You know you're in DuPage County, by the way, when they call the lox "salmon" and the cream cheese with chives, "Uh, cream cheese with, uh, some kind of herbs and spices.")

So why did I do this yesterday? What possessed me to set my alarm early on a Sunday morning and drive clear out to Wheaton to run with a bunch of people who were obviously in better shape than me? (It's a red flag when you find yourself the only one wearing a cotton T-shirt.) What on earth was I thinking?

Believe it or not, it wasn't for the food. (Although that's a heck of an incentive for next year.) No, I turned 55 a couple of weeks ago and thought I should mark the occasion somehow. Unlike George H. W. Bush, I couldn't go skydiving. (I did that on my 50th birthday with my older boy, so that was already taken.) Since I had been running this summer (sort of), I thought I might be able to complete a half-marathon. (Not necessarily run one, mind you, but complete one.) But first I thought I should try my hand at a 10K. After all, it's been about ten years since I ran my last one. (This is beginning to sound like a confession.) And a half-marathon is only two 10Ks. How hard could that be? The answer: I may never know, at least not this year.

After finishing yesterday and finally catching my breath, I thought to myself, "Could I run another one of those -- right now? No #$&! way!" I was really beat after the race and one of my Achilles tendons was sore. It would take a lot more than lox and bagels to get me to run a half-marathon. (Although smoked duck would be a start.)

Am I too old for this nonsense? I don't think so. One of the many nice people I met out there yesterday (and there were a lot of them) was a guy named George Suter from DeKalb. (Not a professor at Northern Illinois.) He was running with his daughter and son-in-law and finished behind me, at 1:18:51.3, for an average of 12:43 per mile. That was 261 overall, but first in his age group. You see, Mr. Suter is 79 years old! Now, I know what you're thinking: That's amazing! Well, consider this: there were three other finishers in the race who were over the age of 80! Now that's amazing.


Ed Crotty said...

Congratulations!! Well Done!

I had the Windrunner on my calendar but decided to wait for the Naperville Trails Half Marathon ( same place!! ) just 4 weeks away on 9/15.

Michael Tracy said...

Good luck! Looks like you'll have to run it without me...

Ed Crotty said...

As all Cubs fans say - "There's always next year".

I will be shooting for under 11 minutes per mile, so while it's longer, I'll be taking it easier. Good luck on your training.