Who’s number 2?

Me, with the 7 finishers before me.

I’m feeling like a winner!

I had been anticipating the Moraine Hills 10K at the State Park on October 22 ever since I was unable to sign up for it last year. It’s a nice, hilly run in a beautiful park (with limited parking) so it fills up quickly. Of course, I signed up early this year …

I signed up so early that I regretted a bit not having signed up for the half marathon instead of the 10K. My mileage had picked up momentum by fall so I was more prepared for a longer run than I anticipated. After a few minutes of rest, I wanted to head back on the trail and do it all over again! Thankfully, my husband and kids were with me, as well as my sister and her family and a few friends who were there running or cheering us on. It was a gorgeous autumn day at a beautiful park. So, I cheered on my friends and enjoyed the entire day.

The best part is that I had fun! I loved the staggered start, which was in the grass and was reminiscent of my high school cross country days where we toed a painted white line in the grass. There were 12 waves, and I was in the second to last wave. That meant there were always people in front of me, plenty of people to chase down and congratulate on their effort. “Way to go, keep it up!” was my mantra for everybody. They were all out there giving their best effort. Cheering them on helped me focus not on myself and get out of my own head. I had forgotten that at first. After less than a mile, I realized I hadn’t said a word to anyone and I wasn’t even smiling. What’s this all for if I’m not having fun? So, I took care of that with every person I saw after that. Even if it was an elderly couple out for a stroll with their dog, heading in the opposite direction. Or the aide station worker handing out water.

Even so, I had trained for speed rather than distance. And my training paid off. I finished 8th overall and 2nd overall female with 47:50. I kept pushing myself but still kept at a comfortable pace. I’ve never been more excited to be #2! My official goal was sub-50 although really I would have been disappointed with anything over 48, so I was ecstatic to meet my *true* personal goal without over-extending myself. I also went hoping to be in the top 3 females for my age group. Didn’t dare imagine first! Definitely an exciting day for me. I know there’s always someone faster, stronger, better out there … But sometimes you get lucky! Ha ha. Not that I believe in luck. I know that I can only do what God allows me to. And I am thankful for each day I am able to run and am amazed by the natural ability in our God-given bodies.

The best unexpected news is that I received a prize package including a gift card for RoadID (definitely a good idea with the longer runs and with cold, dark, icy days approaching), Running Depot (where I purchased my super-cool Amphipod hand-held water bottle) and three months to Cardinal Fitness (just in time for winter)! Of course, last but not least is my Run for the Hills “Women’s 2nd Place Overall” mug. Um, but no medal. Is it terrible of me to be disappointed?

Here’s where things went awry that day. I thought it seemed odd. So, I asked, just to be sure. At first, the aide who provided me with the prize package confirmed for me that I would also receive the 1st place medal for my age group. “You’re going home loaded today!” she said. Then, after going through materials, she realized she was mistaken. She proceeded to sing the praises of the mug. I thought the mug was cool and certainly I was grateful for any prize. But … I said a medal would be neat. Her reaction and continued justification caused me to further build my defense, which now began to make me look like a pompous, ungrateful jerk. Certainly not what I had in mind! I knew how it sounded I just couldn’t stop. Until finally, she was giving excuses now and explaining how it would be a waste of money to create double medals. In my confusion I responded: “But there wouldn’t be two medals. I would get the medal instead of the person who *didn’t* come in first.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I was mortified. I thanked the aide and ran to catch up with my family and friends, cheeks red and feeling flush. I can’t believe I just said that.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to show my face at Moraine Hills again next year!

But I hope so because overall it was a great experience and a lot of fun.


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