Monday, March 1, 2010

what perserverance looks like

10. You get to talk to a lot of nice people because you aren't out of breath.
9. There ain't no shame in looking at a bunch of really good runner's backs~anonymous.
8. It's a chance at trying to force evolution from the ground up.
7. It's an awesome feeling to know that you made someone's day by letting them pass you.
6. You get to spend the time thinking of how you are going to cash in on your calories you just burned.
5. Technically, there are only two places that count in a race; 1st and last-people stick around to see who gets both.
4. Somewhere along the way, you feel the thinnest you have felt in months~almost on the brink of sexy.
3. It's better than watching from the start-you get to see who gets what place in real time.
2. Banana split..banana split..banana split
1. The personal crowd of 10 or less who stick around to cheer your finish...and retrieve your timing chip.

That is a facebook post from Saturday's final race finisher. At 9:00, over 400 runners took off for the annual Beacon on the Bay. It was beautiful out. Chilly, but sunny and little wind by Oklahoma standards. For the first time in years, I wasn't wearing a bib, but as a volunteer committee member I'd intended to be out on the course for an easy 10ish miles checking water stations, encouraging runners, and generally helping where there was need. My plan was to be back at the finish about halfway into the race so I could head home to take care of a few things that have been hanging out on my to-do list. As a side note, it's funny that I even start my weekends with plans because my day never goes accordingly. About five miles into the run, there was a minor hiccup that luckily turned out okay. With that slight set-back in schedule, it wasn't long before I caught up with the course sweeper who just happens to be one of my favorite runners. I welcomed the walk break and planned (there's that word again) to hang with him for a mile or two before continuing down my path. The day was too nice, the conversation too good, and the high from the racers too contagious, and before I knew it, I was at the 25K turnaround agreeing to continue sweeping the course.

Just after 1:00 we skip the keyhole to wait at the end for the final few moments before our last runner crossed the finish line. As she made her way down the final stretch smiling and breathless, the last of the volunteers stood to cheer. Over the years I've seen many race winners, PRs set, and speed goals exceeded, but never have I seen perserverance and accomplishment exemplified quite like this.

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