Today I ran a 5K road race. This was an event put on by the church we attend when we are in Pensacola. The entire race was run on the campus of Pensacola Christian College. It is really nice to be able to run a race in an essentially closed environment. Traffic is never an issue for races held there at the school.
Like last year, this race was fraught with rain and wind. But unlike last year, we went into this weekend having a week of record low temperatures for the area. Last year the puddles were seen as a neat opportunity to goof around in the rain. This year people were scared to get out in the cold water because we might all get sick and die. Last year the starting temperature was 68 degrees and this year 57. It really was not that cold, but it was cold enough to keep the crowd small.
Because I turned 40 recently I got to move up in age division for this race. Now, instead of being the old man in the 30-39, or 35-39 age group, I was the young whipper snapper in the 40-44 age group. ¡Viva la Grandeza! (Long live old age!)
As we started the race I was not aware of anyone in my age group even competing. There was hope that I would be the only one. In total there probably were not more than 70 people in the whole race. I knew I had a chance to place even if I did not win my division.
This was a three lap race. After the crowd thinned out, but only about 1Km into the race I was passed by a girl half my age. She pulled in front of me, but never too far out of reach. She became the only person I was determined to beat. When I went by the water stops I asked the workers to trip her on the next lap around, but they did not comply. Towards the end of the second lap she and I caught up with another young lady who was apparently her friend. She pushed the friend along and they both stayed just out of my reach until half way through that last lap. They faded slightly and allowed me to catch up. I slowly pulled away from them as the lap came to a close.
I finished the race in 29:30. Not a great time for a 5K, but I am not in my best running shape either. I was pleased with the effort. This was my longest run of the year.
According to the man calling out the splits I ran the first lap/mile in 9:20, the second in 9:25 and the third in just under 10:00 (if I remember right). Then the rest of the time was made up in the .1 miles at the end.
At the end of the race we were given a card and shown the clock. We had to write down our own time and drop it in the box of our age division. I was thrilled when I found the 40-44 year old box and there were no cards in it. But then equally disappointed when I was told that was the ladies’ box. I searched for the men’s box and had mixed emotions about seeing a card already in there. That meant I did not win my age group, but there was only one man in front of me. I took second place. There was at least one other 40-44 year old since they handed out a third place ribbon.
While winning second out of three with a less-than-stellar time may not seem like something to brag about, I feel pretty good about it. I did not go fast, but I went a lot faster than all the other men in my age group from the church and community who did not even make the effort to get out and run with us today. Just showing up guaranteed me a better chance of winning than those who were still drinking coffee at 8:00 on a lazy, rainy, cold Saturday morning.
There has to be a sermon illustration in there somewhere.