I must admit, I do it for laughs.
When running in a
5K, I will stand in the front of the starting line knowing good and well
that I will not be first across the finish line. Ever. For any race.
It just makes me chuckle, especially when I later see a photo of the race start.
wear all the right clothing, have a waterproof heart rate monitor with
GPS and even bring a race belt to these things. I look like a serious
runner and, therefore, like I might be fast.
But I'm not. I'm
slow. But that secret typically goes undetected for at least one minute
into the race until I start getting passed ... then passed again ... and
then passed again.
In fact, during a 5K I ran earlier in the
year, I was talking to a guy after the race who told me his wife had
sized up the other racers (there were only 40) before the gun went off,
and she had decided I would be her biggest competition.
was funny. She ended up beating me by a couple minutes. I wonder when
she figured out that I wouldn't be giving her any problems.
of course, I got in the front of the line at The Friends of the
Wilmington Parks Seventh Annual 5K and 10K Run and 5K Walk to Promote
Health and Community Fellowship Thanksgiving morning.
Made up of what appeared to be mostly students from Wilmington College or the high schools, I was the only old person up front.
the starting gun fired, these kids were already blazing a trail. A
minute later, I got into my pace, turned on my playlist and just enjoyed
the scenic course.
Race organizers told me Thursday morning
before I had to leave to come back to the News Journal office that there
were at least 350 participants, but that they were still counting the
As of Thursday evening, according to the race's Facebook
page, there were 469 timed participants. A record-turnout for the race,
now in it's seventh year.
The excitement of seeing so many
friends, the perfect running weather and a beautiful course all added up
to a wonderful morning of racing - and I had a blast.
There was, however, a downside I would soon discover.
I haven't been
training as much as usual lately, and, though I finished the race
without struggle, I was able to observe a decrease in my stamina.
I typically get passed by others more than I pass them, but I felt like I was choking on more dust than usual.
I needed to put more people behind me ... but the energy just wasn't there.
just a half a mile to go, Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart" showed up
in my playlist. I paused it, knowing that would be a perfect song to get
me going at the very end, and I ran a few minutes in silence.
As I turned the last corner, the finish line was in sight. I unpaused the high-energy music and picked up my pace.
few seconds later, a man running with a stroller started to catch up
with me. He, and the two other people with whom he was running,
eventually passed me.
I said to myself, "OK, Lora. You cannot let
someone pushing a stroller beat you. Pick up the pace a little and
sprint to pass them at the very end."
Though I picked up my pace
slightly, there was no sprint left in me. To make matters worse, the
song slowed down at that point, going in to its bridge.
Of course it did.
I had to watch papa and his little one score a higher ranking than me, I
actually was pleasantly surprised when I looked up the race results
As an unquestionable middle-of-the-pack runner,
I was nearly dead center overall having placed 174 out of 349 in the
5K. I placed 76 out of 192 among the females and 28 out of 70 in my age
Given how sluggish I'd felt throughout the race, I thought for sure I was headed more toward the back-of-the-pack standings.
am a very, very competitive person - at least in the things I know I
can do well. Running isn't one of them, so even though I have the
occasional small goal in a race, just to make it interesting, I'm able
to just go out and have a good time.
Thanksgiving's turkey trot
served not only as a reminder of how out of shape I am, but also of how
grateful to God I am that my faculties are still intact and that I have
the ability to just pick up and run.
I noticed there were a
couple photographers snapping pictures at the start, finish and along
the course. I look forward to seeing the photos online later and having a
good laugh about it. I'm always in first place at the starting line.
This was originally published in the Nov. 24 edition of the Wilmington News Journal.