I SHOULD BE HAPPY with my result in the Road Ends trail race today. I beat my previous time by over three and a half minutes, and blew away my time goal. So why do I feel like the perpetual bridesmaid?
My time was 38:10, well under 40 minutes. A hard, strong run, and I left everything on the course. Finished 32nd out of 200 runners.
My time was good enough for an age group prize in just about every age group – except mine. Last year my 41:48 was good for 6th place. This year my 38:10 was good for – 6th place! Darn those 45-48 year old whippersnappers! That’s what I get for all that visualization. Age Group Winner? Hah! 1st place in my age group was under 32 minutes.
My wife, bless her, wasn’t much help. Her response to my whining was to remind me of my many blessings. This is the last thing I want – just agree with me how unfair it all is, so I can move on. Let me grieve, dammit!
Funny how things come together sometimes. I’m on the couch reading Flannery O’Connor’s book on fiction, and come across a passage that says, in effect, that too many people want to be seen as writers, but don’t want to focus on the hard work of writing. That is, they’re more interested in the visible benefits than the craft itself. I substituted “runner” for “writer” and wondered for a while if the stupid coffee cup prize means more to me than learning to become a better runner, and enjoy running for its own sake. I went to my laptop and signed up for a running form improvement class I’d seen advertised in the Running Fit newsletter.
By this evening, I’m over it. Next year will bring a new age group, and hopefully I will be even faster. Fear me in 2012!