When I run, I run for me. I run to stay healthy, challenge myself, and improve my times. I am not a competitive runner. I’m not fast enough. And that’s okay with me. When my students (who see me running all over the city in the evenings) tell me I should go to the Olympics, it makes me laugh. They don’t realize that most of them could probably keep pace with me if they tried—at least for a mile or so.
I never in a million years dreamed I’d be in a position to win anything in a race. I am the runner who finishes the race, grabs her bottle of water and banana, and takes off without bothering to stay for the awards ceremony. I’ll check the results online, and if I’m in the top 50% of competitors, I’m quite pleased.
Of course, that mentality changed in Puerto Rico. As I’ve mentioned before, running as a woman on this island is…profitable, generally. Especially for longer distances. I have somehow placed in my category and taken home prize money 4 times now. Usually it’s a prize just in my age category, not the overall. The odds are generally in my favor. In the mens' category (age 25-29, as an example) you might find 50 participants. The same age bracket for women might have 5-10 runners. So it's pretty easy to place in the top 3-5 women in my age bracket.
Sunday, for the first and probably last time in my life, I took home 2nd place in Women’s Overall for a 10K. I got a nice trophy (a trophy!) and $75 cash.
…Of course, placing like I did was pretty easy. There were only 2 women signed up for the 10K run.
So when you think about it like that, should I really be proud of my prize? I was only racing against one other person, and I didn’t win.
That’s why I don’t race competitively. Because, yes, I should be proud of my prize. I did it. I finished the race. And what really matters and what should determine how proud I am is my finish time, not my time in comparison to the other runner’s.
So for me, second place fits. Sunday's run wasn't a personal record time for me...but nor was it my worst time, by a long shot.
I'll take it.
And I'll keep on running.
|the finish line.|