Saturday, April 20, 2024

Today I Joined the Police Department

But only for about 20 minutes.

As everyone knows, the largest 10K race in North America is the Bolder Boulder (obviously) in Boulder, Colorado. I ran that race last year and hope to run it again next month. The second largest 10K race takes place in my own backyard practically -- the Ukrop's Monument 10K in Richmond, Virginia. The Bolder Boulder averages 50,000 runners each year, while the Monument 10K averages a measly 25,000. I ran that race today.

I had four goals going into today's 10K:

1. Run the whole race without stopping.

2. Finish within the top two thirds of runners.

3. Place in the top half of men in my age group (70-74).

4. Complete the race without my legs looking like a newborn giraffe trying to stand for the first time.

The race began at 8:30. Up first were the elite runners. I see that the guy who won the race finished in 30:18. His name is Jordan Bendure. I've never met Jordan, but I'm pretty sure he's an amazing runner. Us lesser mortals began the race after the elites did. There were about a dozen waves, each based on your average 10K finish time. Each wave, as you see, was crowded. 

I guess we had to wait about 35 minutes for our wave to be launched due to the size of the event. We were a bit giddy to get started to say the least. 

I managed to run with the pack for the first 3 miles of the race. 

But I knew I'd need some extra motivation to finish the last 3 miles strong. Then it happened. I saw ahead of me just the thing I needed to get the job done -- a group of Richmond police recruits undergoing training. Impudently (and without even applying!) I joined myself to their ranks. 

They paced me for the rest of the race, at which point I unceremoniously resigned my appointment to the police academy. 

It felt so good to finish. (By the way, we love the volunteers at these races. I cannot thank this dear woman enough!) 

I checked my watch to see how I'd done. 

Over 23,000 runners had registered for today's race. I was disappointed to finish 11,769 out of 18,399 who finished the race. I was even more heartbroken to miss out on 11,768th place. It still haunts me. However, the good news is that after I finished the race, my walk looked nothing at all like that of a newborn giraffe. Instead, I gave the tin man from The Wizard of Oz a run for his money. 

As for my other goals, I ended up finishing in the top two-thirds of runners and even managed to place 48th in my age group (out of 134). Thankfully, the level of joy you are able to have at a race isn't determined by when you finish. Nobody else cares about your finishing time, and even you won't care in a year's time. What will stick with you five years from now are the times you said to yourself while running, "Lord, I can't believe how wonderful this is. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" 

Have a wonderful weekend!