I generally have limited tolerance for people whining about the accuracy of their race times. And not just because of the whole Garmin/tangent problem. But because, I think, weekend-warrior racing has become such technical endeavor. Did your chip hit all six timing mats? Was your official time within milliseconds of what the gadget on your wrist said? Quick, load up your phone’s web browser and check with Lord McMillan to see if you ran what you were supposed to run!
Sometimes I miss those old-fashioned cross-country races where someone handed you a popsicle stick with a number on it as you crossed the finish line, and that was the end of it.
So, um…the fact that today’s race bugs me a little? Bugs me a little.
During the usual pre-race teammate chatter, I’d stated that I’d be content with my time if I could just slip under six. I ran 6:02 on the track a couple of months ago. Although I hadn’t done much in the way of quality running since then, I’d logged decent maintenance mileage. Totally reasonable.
The course for this afternoon’s Magnificent Mile was nice: a lollipop, with the loop portion circling the state capitol. Relatively flat, with a couple of gentle grades during the second and third quarters of the race and a slightly downhill finish.
I lined up behind a throng of middle-school-looking kids in matching cotton t-shirts who were hogging the start line and prepared to throw elbows. Ugh. Sorry, kiddos. We’ve only got a few minutes to do this thing, and I’m not going to let you get in my way!
My confidence grew as I heard the splits called at each quarter: 84. 2:58. 4:30. I was running a fairly even race and picking people off left and right. I hauled it down the home stretch, thinking there was no way I couldn’t grab a few extra seconds on the kick and come in under 6:00.
I saw a row of three fives on the clock as I headed into the chute and cranked out those last couple of strides to the timing mat. 5:55? Worst case, 5:57 or something. Sweet.
“Hey, you got it! I saw you go across at 5:58!” A teammate slapped my sweaty shoulder as I chugged a cup of Gatorade.
“Nice work! 5:58!” shouted a coach from the other side of the finish area.
Satisfied with my sub-six performance, I headed out on a long cool down. I thought to myself: you know what? That was good. Not my best race ever and certainly not a PR, but hey: I did what I set out to do. I ran a consistent race and I passed a lot of people. It was fun.
So why did my official time have to be 6:01?
Oh-ONE. OH-ONE. Seriously? WTF?
Aaaand here we go. This is exactly the sort of thing that I roll my eyes at when people start talking about what their finish time WAS versus SHOULD HAVE BEEN. Because it does not matter. There isn’t prize money or even a PR at stake here. It’s just a three second discrepancy. That happens to span the barrier between a finish time that starts with a five and one that starts with a six.
But still. WTF? I guess everyone (including multiple people, spectating the race separately) had rose-colored glasses when they watched me cross. And I still don’t understand how it could have taken me six seconds to travel approximately six feet, from when I last saw the clock to the timing mat.
You all should go ahead and tell me to take my own advice right now.
And to just be happy. To be happy that I ran a good smart race. To be happy that I can still run a six-minute mile (or thereabouts) with no formal training. To be happy that I earned a popsicle stick with THIRD PLACE written on it – in my age group, that is.
Prosecco makes me happy:
No need for an “occasion.” Other than: I had dinner at this cute wine bar last night and was craving sparkling wine but didn’t like any of their by-the-glass offerings. So I picked up a bottle at the grocery store after the race.
This Ecco Domani Prosecco is a little blah, but it does the job. There’s a little grapefruit, a touch of honey, and very perky carbonation that almost assaults the roof of your mouth. And there’s something acidic that I can’t quite place. I don’t know that I’d seek it out again, but this time around, it had two things going for it: one, it was pre-chilled (CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOZE TO COOL) and two, it was on sale for $8. And for $8, it’s better than Cook’s or whatever.
Bottom line: Skip it…unless it’s on clearance. (Purchased at Harris Teeter, $8, regular price $12)
We had charcuterie for dinner tonight…
Which is a fancy way of saying we had cheese and crackers for dinner. Goat brie, grapes, spicy soppressata, sharp cheddar, and slices of toasted baguette brushed with olive oil and sea salt. I also had a salad and some strawberries.
Off to relax with a book before bedtime…hope you had a great weekend!