Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Last place isn't always a bad thing
I was invited to the Chocolate Race in St. Catharines to be
the sweep for the 10 miler. The Sweep is the person who finishes the race last, to ensure that everyone has crossed the line and they can break down the aid stations and open the course again. (unlike the Sweep in Disney, but we won't discuss THEM)
I've never done that role before, and aside from the fact that I ran a half marathon last weekend (Windsor) and will be running one this weekend (Cleveland), I figured I was okay to walk 16k the weekend between.
When I picked up my race kit I found that although I was given a bib, I wasn't issued a chip, so I'd have no 'official' time for this race, it was like I didn't exist at all. Kind of neat, because it didn't mess up my times, but kind of sad 'cause then I'd have no time to beat :-).
It was a beautiful day to be out in a tutu, so I hit the course at the back of the pack. All the 10 milers took off into the sun. I plodded along behind, soon to be passed by all the 10k and 5k runners who had a delayed start behind us.
The upside to being last, your race photos are amazing because you're exerting NO effort at all, and therefore remain fresh as a daisy the entire time.
Also, there's nobody else in them, so you are all 'check me out' alone in the pretty surroundings. I HAD to buy this photo, it's one of the best ones ever taken of me 'running'. (thanks Zoom Photo, it's amazing)
A couple aid stations into the walk, after I'd had a chocolate marshmallow/strawberry on a stick and a few cups of Gatorade, I fell in with three ladies who were walking the 10 mile route. After confessing that it was my job to make sure they got in safely, we began to chat about stuff. Turns out I was walking with a two-time cancer survivor and her friends. This time last year she was doing chemo and could only manage 9 k of the walk.
This year they were celebrating each step they took together, almost literally.
I didn't realize until I joined them but each kilometer marker they passed, they joined hands, held them up and whooped. They welcomed me to their crew and happily chatted with me as we headed back to the finish.
I've never been this far back before, never had no time to beat or clock to hit. It was oddly refreshing to be there for someone else, another purpose than counting the footfalls between me and the end.
What a neat experience. Three women I'd never have met without this opportunity, stories I'd have heard, questions I'd never have asked. Sometimes it is a good thing to slow down and look around.
In the words of Rush (sorry Shannon). "Time stand still, not looking back but I want to look around me now". OH, but they WERE out of chocolate martinis at the end :-(
On that note, I'm running the Rite Aid Rock N Roll Cleveland half THIS weekend with Emily, and I doubt it'll be quiet there :-)
Cool update! The National Post tracks people's progress in the paper, and this week not only was I IN the paper, so was my photo!