Posted by: thehungryrunner | May 26, 2008

Another Running Race Report: My first “2nd Place” win!

(To view photos of this race, click here:  Photos of 2008 Dash to Cure Diabetes.)

Holy smokes!  I sure wasn’t expecting this.  The day after my 4th participation in the Mackinaw Bridge Race in northern Michigan (my race report — and a video — is right below this post), I ran the 4-mile trail run at the Dash to Cure Diabetes in Barrington, Illinois (yes, for those of you with quick minds, that means we drove all the way back down right after the Mack Race….and while we were at it, took a detour to hike Michigan’s very scenic Ludington State Park along Lake Michigan…yes, we both need to have our heads examined).

Anyway, suffice it to say, I wasn’t expecting a remarkable performance on my part, only to finish the race on as strong a note as possible, given I’d done the other race the previous day.  But indeed, after huffing and puffing (I don’t know if I’d call it a sprint, more a desperate “just get this OVER with!” beeline) across the finish line, I soon learned that at 34:03:22, I was the second place finisher in my age group.  I got a mug and everything. 🙂  Sweet!

But to be honest, sweeter than that was perhaps the best compliment (make that complimentS) I have ever received on my running.  As I staggered and limped my way forward from the finish line, gulping the air and feeling the endorphin buzz taking over, I heard a voice say, “Thank you,” to me.  I turned to see a fellow runner, a lean and extremely fit gentleman in (I’m assuming) his late 40’s, who then added, “You got me through the last two miles; your shirt was easy to spot so I could pace off of you.”  I was stunned with joy that I could have been of help to anyone, no less an individual as clearly fit and athletic as this guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel great about my running, the progress I’ve made and continue to make.  But I somehow don’t put myself in the category of “fast enough” to be someone’s pace runner!

And as if that weren’t compliment enough, I received a second one shortly thereafter.  As I hovered over the water table and gratefully downed several cupfuls, another fellow runner and I exchanged comments about the great weather and lovely course, which took us through the local Cuba Marsh.  This runner, a man in his mid-50’s whose physique clearly betrayed a very fit and athletic body, remarked that we seemed to be on the same pace (he was running behind me) for this race.  Once again, I was floored, as runners of his age and athletic caliber are, needless to say, quite fast.  I have always admired that group for this reason, and take much of my daily inspiration from them.  So needless to say, the thought that I was on his pace — and that he would notice this much — was extremely flattering and encouraging, indeed!

Another great day.  Suddenly I remember why I love running!

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