Okay, so… I’ve been thinking a lot the last day and a half on finishing a race dead ass last. Not losing. I didn’t lose. Losing would have been quitting because it got hard, or not starting because of the rain, or not trying because it’s work. I didn’t lose. I ran my race and I finished. And I’m glad I did.
But, there are things that you miss out if you are in the back of the pack.
In February, I did the Austin Half. My time was 4:00:39. Not really anything to brag about other than I finished. I was hurting like hell and I finished. Yesterday I did 10 miles in 2:38:57. And I felt pretty damn good by the time I finished.
I learned that, when you’re last, you really don’t seem to count.
The people taking pictures… get great pictures of the HUGE herd of people crossing the starting line… coming around mile 9 or 10 or 12… or across the first street bridge or whatever. They disappear after the huge herd passes. I got my picture taken I think three times yesterday… Once at the start, once rounding the 9.75 mile mark and once crossing the finish line. And that guy really didn’t want to still be there, you could tell.
The people cheering leave. If you aren’t in the herd, you really don’t get cheered so much except sometimes by the people at the water stops.
The water stops dry up and blow away. In the half, right were I NEEDED gatoraid and right where I NEEDED water, the tables were there, there were empty cups blowing around. There was no water. Yesterday, as we were finishing the last two miles, they were pulling the tables and the water buffalos. Poof… no water for the stragglers. The people not elite… the people not fast enough to be in with the in crowd… they probably don’t need water by mile 8-9-10-11-whatever anyway.
I’m not elite. I don’t have a bicycle riding with me to make sure I make my time and get to the finish line in the first handful of runners. I’m not even really middle of the pack. Yesterday, we had the medic buggy pacing us about 7 feet behind my heels. Okay, it may have only felt to me like they were vultures circling the feast, but, you know what, I had THREE hours to finish. I guess technically I had until 10:00 am to finish by what I was told… I finished in under 16 minute miles. I finished with a good FIFTEEN minutes to spare and THAT was after they delayed the start 15 minutes. I might not ever be a good runner, but it really is demoralizing to realize that your ass is what is holding up EVERYONE from going out and having their fun.
I paid my money. I count.
For all of those even planners out there planning races…
Leave the water until AFTER the last runners pass. It’s not that many extra minutes to your day.
Don’t park your porta-potty truck on the course even if you have to wait for us to pass and it takes you an extra twenty minutes on your day. Going around you truck is a pain in the ass and tacky.
If you are the people scraping up the bodies that don’t make it, If I happen to still be up and running (or walking or crawling for that matter) BACK OFF. You are in a buggy. Staying 20 feet back or 30 feet back… or however far back it ends up being that I don’t have to hear you discussing your lunch plans that I’m ruining by being one of the last 10 people to finish.
I may not matter to you, but this matters to me. I matters just as much to me, hell, maybe it matters MORE to me, as it does to mister first place finisher.
And if you are taking pictures, I buy your stupid pictures. Usually. If I’m actually… you know… IN any of them. Want to make a buck (or a hundred bucks)… maybe I count too. Probably not… but maybe.
okay… I’ll quit venting (and hope like hell I can get to sleep soon).
Just… please know… those of us who aren’t in the first half of the pack have feelings. We spent the same amount of money to be here as everyone else, hell, maybe more. Have the courtesy to treat us the way that you treated the guy who finished first in a course record.