Owning It

I thought I might skip the Service Above Self/Memorial Day 5K  this year, even though I really liked it last year.  And I also got a PR.  Plus, I  received my first ever – and completely unexpected – age group award.  (“I’m #2!  I’m #2!”)

Because I’d lost training time with Alice and the injury, I figured I couldn’t be anything but disappointed by whatever my result would be this year.

But then I got to thinking….it’s right here in town.  No getting up super early.  No driving to Pittsburgh.  I could even walk over to the race start if I wanted to.  Plus, my friends direct the race and lot of my friends will be there.

Further, I decided I just needed to deal with whatever race time I’d get.  Kind of like getting on the scale, even though you don’t want to, and just owning up to where you are right now.  If I got a lousy time, I’d just have more information about what I’d need to do to improve.

So I registered a couple of weeks ago online.  I got to the question about whether or not the registeree (i.e., me) was Clydesdale or Athena.  I just skipped the question and hit submit, but the site forced me to answer Clydesdale, Athena, or ‘No.’  (I do NOT remember this option from last year!)  I don’t know what possessed me (aside from the fact that I’m actually over qualified for the heavyweight division), but I clicked the Athena and then the submit buttons.  Then immediately thought, “What did I just do?”

I went to the event website and saw the note that the awards would be (men & women) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for overall, for age groups, and for “heavyweights,’ with a note that there were no duplicate awards.

Ah.  What I’d just done was eliminated myself from my age group division and placed myself in the heavyweight division.  I felt a little bit like I’d just cheated, given that I’d placed 2nd last year among “regular” runners.  Yet, I’m legit as a heavyweight.  Okay.  Whatever.  No big deal.

Again, I didn’t remember this from last year, so I looked up 2012 results to see if the division was new this year.  But lo and behold, there was a separate results list for heavyweights.  Huh!

I clicked the link.

Eight people on the list.

One woman.

Only one woman registered and ran the race as a heavyweight last year.

Then I thought, “Unless the Western Pennsylvania Big Girls Running Club decides that this is their race this year, I can dog it – and win!”

First, I had a good laugh about that.  And (of course) shared this amusing story with all of my friends.  Later, I realized that – counter-intuitively –  seeing last year’s results made me more motivated to work hard and to get the best possible time I could.  I figured, if I’m going to represent the big runner girls, I’d better bring it!   If I was likely to win, I really should do my best to earn it.

With  the couple weeks I had available, I got in as many runs as I could and included a hill repeat workout – to give me confidence for the race’s two hills.  And I showed up this morning hoping to run as close as I could to 27 minutes, but deciding I’d be happy with anything  faster than the 29:21 I ran two weeks ago.

Here’s the part where we use our imaginations, folks!  My time was 27:08, and I’m going to pretend that the course wasn’t short again (like last year), and therefore I was but 8 seconds off my goal.  Woo-hoo!

(Even adjusted, the pace is roughly a minute faster than my last race.  At least I know I am improving.)

No imagination required: 27:08 was more than enough to win the women’s heavyweight division.  Even though it feels a little bit like a dubious honor, I’m pleased to report that I received my first, 1st-place award this morning!

Queen of the Big Girls!

Queen of the Big Girls!   (Photo credit: Emily Lehman)

What’s a little less exciting is that there was only one other woman who registered as a heavyweight.  Yep.  I beat out one whole person to win that bad boy!  However, it makes me feel better that I would have placed second (again) in my age group.  Makes me feel like I did earn it this despite having such a small field.

I’m hoping next year that I won’t meet the criterion for Athena and I’ll be competing in my age group again – even though a few of my fast friends are about to turn 40 and will therefore be in my age group.  I won’t have a chance to place, but I think the trade-off of being a decidedly non-heavyweight runner will be worth it.

Fun awards aside, the best part of the race was that I saw SO many of my running friends – and even met some great friends of friends.  Sadly, I didn’t have time (or sense) enough to get pictures with all of them, but I got a couple, thanks to others’ cameras.

Here are Kim, Melanie, Letty and I, lined up at the start:

I swear I was invited into this picture & I'm not bombing it.

I swear I was invited into this picture & I’m not bombing it.

They all did super-great, finishing well ahead of me.  So proud of those girls!

And (last pic!), here are Letty, Jackie and I.  Letty wanted to get our picture because we all three got awards – they were 1st and 3rd in their age group.

I'm looking every ounce the Athena athlete in this one!  Holy cow, why am I not sucking in my gut?  Who gets their picture taken like that?

Holy belly button, Batman.

Notice that I’m looking every ounce the Athena athlete in that picture!  Who gets their picture taken like that?  Why am I not sucking in my gut?  (What if I was sucking in my gut?  Gasp!)

Ah well, I said I was owning it.  Here’s to being the best of the heavyweight girls today – Huzzah!

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