Monday, September 2, 2013

Dead Last

Greetings All:

Happy Labor Day, of what is left of it.  I hope you were able to enjoy some of it with the people who matter the most to you, had some fun and got outside.  This weekend is the un-official end of summer and if this were an even year, the start of election season.  We're spared from that this year.  (Although as I have said before, elections come and go but the campaign never really ends so let's enjoy it while it lasts.) 

So back to the weekend, in particular, Labor Day, I participated in the Run with Carl 5 mile "race" today.  Here is a bit about the race from the website:

"Begun in 1995, the annual Labor Day "Run with Carl" is the primary funding vehicle for the Carl D. Schillig Memorial Fund. The Bettendorf Jaycees became the founding title sponsor of the Run with Carl and continue to provide support for event. In 2005, the Bettendorf Rotary became the Run with Carl title sponsor.

Carl Schillig, a student at Pleasant Valley High School, was 15 years old when he died in a car-pedestrian accident while participating in the Civil War Reenactment at the Village of East Davenport, Sept. 17, 1994.

Carl was active in numerous school, community and church activities. The memorial fund was established by Carl’s family to perpetuate his memory and enthusiasm for life by providing college scholarships to graduates of Pleasant Valley. The first scholarship was awarded in 1998. In 2002, the scholarship award was extended to include graduates of Bettendorf High School.
The scholarship is given to a student with a minimum 2.3+ grade point average who exemplifies Carl’s spirit through participation in school, sports and community and church activities.
Each recipient receives a $4,000 scholarship over 4 years, contingent on satisfactory performance."

This is truly one of those "good" causes and as a parent myself, I can only image the anguish of losing a child at 15 with his/her life in front of him.  Granted, I do live in a smaller area, but I am impressed with the number of people who turn out to support this cause, who knew Carl, or whose kids went to school with him and how his legacy lives on with this race.  I also like it how the local Rotary Club has stepped up to be a sponsor.  I suspect this frees up funds that would otherwise have to go to overhead.  This is the kind of community support, the "think globally, act (er, run) locally" that I appreciate.

It also is a good day to have the run.  Most people are off and it's early enough in the day that you can do it and still have time to do other fun things.  Like what, you may ask?  Well how about going to the mall.  Great fun all the way around, but alas, I digress, back to the race.

I signed up to run it and had no delusions about how well I would do.  I really do not run, more like lumber.  I tell people that when I run I listen to audiobooks because, "...when you run as slow as me, you don't need music."  I had no idea how true that was until today.

The race started about a mile and change from my house via the bike path so rather than drive, I walked, jogged over there.  I got there in time for the start, although I forgot to set the GPS app (Map My Run) so I was delayed getting "off the blocks."  I'd like to be able to say that explained why I didn't (ahem) fare well in the race.  The truth is that I can blame any technical issues I want, the bottom line is I am a really slow runner.  How slow you might ask?  How's this:  I came in dead last.

I kinda figured I was way, way back when by mile 1 I saw hardly any other runners.  (Usually I just follow the pack.)  In fact, at the point the race split between the 5 mile and the 5K, I made the wrong turn and lost about 30 seconds.  (and, no, that did not really matter either in my dismal performance if you view it from a pure "how'd ya finish" standpoint.)  And speaking of, here is the brutal truth:

I finished 333 out of 333 and 18 out of 18 for my age group at a time of 1:04:26.  I did get across the finish line before some of the walkers, so there is some solace there.

Full disclosure, I blame this on no "outside effects."  I elected to not imbibe in any adult beverages last evening, my ankle sprain is all better, it was not vicious hot or nasty cold.  I suppose I could have (and probably would have) sped up my run time by listening to music.  However, I had a great book on (The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, the story of how nine working class boys from Washington State rowed their way to Olympic Gold and splashed cold water all over old Adolph's wrong and twisted logic about der "master race."  Nope, however I want to look at it, I was just plain slow today.

The race took advantage of the bike path and ran partially through my neighborhood.  I was glad to see and hear some encouragement from my friends.  They were most kind and polite not to point out that I was almost certainly "bringing up the rear."  As an added plus, it was nice to run along and see so many American flags flapping in the breeze, compliments of a local Boy Scout troop.

Truth be told, I thought of just calling it a day and running back to my house.  I had my shirt, my entry fee paid and besides, I needed to us the bathroom.  Then I decided that regardless of where I placed, I might as well finish.  Besides, rumor had it there were cookies at the finish line.

As the race hit the last third of the course, it was back onto main streets.  It was kind of neat to know that I had the whole course to myself.  The local law enforcement and volunteers on the course were genuine in their encouragement and I appreciated that the water station was still operating.  Although I was not thirsty and my bladder was not at all pleased with my decision to drink more, I was grateful for the earnest smile from the Walgreens' employee who handed me a cup of slightly warm, likely garden hose dispensed water.  It tasted just fine.

I was able to camouflage my last-place finish in the 5-mile run as the 5K runners and walkers fed into the finish area on a side street.  This did aide my ego a bit.  I recall kicking in what little speed I could muster to fly past a very nice elderly couple shuffling into the chute.

Clearly, running for speed is not my strong suit.  Still, I am glad I went out and did this "race" today.  It is for a super cause and I got a t-shirt out of the deal.  It also beat eating doughnuts and slurping coffee all morning (although I did have ice cream later, almost certainly negating any health benefits from the morning's jaunt) and lounging around the house.  On a serious note, it was a reminder that I've got a bunch of work to do between now and the half marathon.  I think for that one I will need to put on some music if I want to finish before sundown.  Oh, and I may want to re-think my "no stretching" policy, note to self.

So that's my tale of finishing dead last today.  Please do not view this post as some exercise in self-pity.  I am not sad or upset or even embarrassed.  I suppose this might be a form of maturing, to take honest stock of one's actions, the good and not so good.  As I close, I am reminded of one of my newer, favorite quotes from the playwrite, Samuel Becket:

"Ever tried, ever failed, no matter.  Try again, fail again, fail better."

Have a great week everyone.

Best rgs,

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