The Win: Part Two!

Another win added to my tally! The total is up to, let me count, um, two.

Granted, neither was particularly spectacular, and both could be questioned as to their “race” titles, but they were fun nonetheless.

The first, as you may remember if you are a loyal reader (ha!), was in a 5k in Van Cortlandt Park. The reason that particular win was questionable was because the runner in front of me actually got lost in the woods. Oh, and the 5k was actually 2.9 miles.

This second was a 1.5 mile fun run. Yes, fun run. If you want to discredit my win based solely on that fact, go ahead. But I won’t. I heard about the race about a week earlier, and figured it ought to be fun (it’s called a fun run after all). So, after ascertaining that there was indeed a race that day (it had been postponed from a few days earlier), I lined up at the start. By the way, this was on a track; it was my first race on a track, actually.

Then someone yelled go, and I went. And I went way too fast, as I tend to do in races. My first quarter mile was in about 1:15 (I was aiming for under 1:30’s), mainly because I was trying to get ahead of this other guy who had said he wanted to run 1:40’s per lap. Well, he started way too fast, and I started way too faster, and overall it was just way too fast, if you get my drift.

But after the first lap I evened out and was pretty consistent with my lap times. The race felt like it went by very quickly, which I suppose it did- I was running for less than nine minutes, after all.

It was awesome having someone yell out times and how many laps were left only for me. At one point he yelled “Two laps to go!” which caused some walkers/slow joggers near me to go “Two? Don’t we have three to go?” I ran by, and they said, “Ohh, him.”

It was over quickly, and I felt great. I probably could have gone faster, but this was my first 1.5 mile race, first race on the track, and there was no-one near me to push me to go faster (second place came in about a minute after me). My final time was 8:51. Yes, I know, it’s not even close to a winning time, but it was a huge PR for me. It was also the slowest I’ve ever raced that distance. If you haven’t caught on by this point, this was my first race of this distance and thus I automatically PR’ed- and raced my slowest time.

That gives me an idea for a new running term: WR: Worst Record. For when you record your slowest time. But first races are always PR’s, by default.

Clearly it’s time for me to wrap this up before I come up with any worse ideas. But before I go, good luck to all those racing the New York City Marathon tomorrow!


The Win

It began like a race like any other. But that’s not what I want to talk about. It’s the end that was interesting.

Take it from me when I tell you that I am not a 5k winner. Not even top ten. So when I heard about a small 5k from a friend of mine, I said I’d do it for fun, even though I was training for a half marathon at the time and not at my fastest. Needless to say, my expectations for the race were not very high. But, as you may have gleaned from the title, I did indeed win it.

My question is, does it count? Because this was no ordinary race. Hell, it wasn’t even a a full 5k. I knew something was up when the race, scheduled to start at 10:15, didn’t get underway until 10:30. And my unease grew as someone stood up on a chair and informed the 50 or so runners and walkers that we could run one of two routes: a track twice, or take a turnoff into the woods where there would be people to direct us. Naturally, I figured I’d choose the woods, for the change of scenery.

Well, the proverbial gun was fired (I believe someone just screamed at us to start running already from the sidelines) and off we were. I found myself about 10 people from the front, and catching up quickly. Then I was in third, with one guy and one girl in front of me. As we rounded the first lap of the track, the guy in first decided to turn into the woods, though there was no indication of where the correct turnoff was. The girl looked back helplessly, and I informed her that there was no way I was going into those woods; I would get hopelessly lost. So she stuck to the track with me, and eventually I pulled away, and yes, won.

I have to say, artificial as a racing environment it may have been, it was a blast. I felt like an elite runner, pushing it with a mile left, sensing the girl unable to keep up and leaving her behind, and then sprinting to a finish. It felt great. But was it real? As it turns out, the unlucky fellow who took the turnoff into the woods got lost, along with about 15 other runners. He may have won; after all, he was ahead of me at the time. And then I went home and discovered via the beauty of the Internet that the two loops of the track I had run was actually about 2.9 miles. There went my PR.

Clearly, this race was not what you’d call organized. The late start, the two-course option, the lack of directions as to the correct turnoff, and the fact that it wasn’t even 5 kilometers. Add to that that only a handful of people really ran it, and it sounds like a pretty pathetic race to win. But, as I’ve asked twice already, does it count? Does it mean anything to win a race, even if it hardly even qualifies as a race? Well, it counts to me. I experienced the win, and it was awesome. And hard earned. Acknowledged, if it were a ‘real’ race, I wouldn’t have won. Not even close. But you know what? It wasn’t a real race. And I won it. And if I never win another race in my life, which is a distinct possibility, I can still ‘count’ this one. And maybe, as I grow old, I will forget that it wasn’t a real race. And only remember that I won.