Monday, July 9, 2012

Pig Tails

This time last year I was thinking this time this year I would be in Chattanooga doing the Waterfront Tri.  My knee is really happy I didn't sign up.  (It is getting better but it's a process and is taking some time; I rode a whopping EIGHT miles yesterday, iced twice and no swelling today!! :D)

Anyway...the only races I've done consistently year after year are the Cotton Row 10K and the Turkey Chase.  There are some other races I planned to do every year the moment I hit the finish line ("I LOVED THIS RACE!!  I'M GOING TO DO IT EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!!).  In my opinion, an event would do well to have a registration table at the finish line with a discount (but no-refund).  If they worked it right, they could make a lot of money off people like me.

Things change from year to year.  Just look back in this blog to this time two years ago...
Yeah, things change all right.

With that in mind...can you even IMAGINE doing a race like 30 years in a row?????  When I wrote up my race recap from Mach Tenn I told you about a gal who was running just in front of me when I came out of T2.  I knew how old she was by looking at her calf (in tris they mark your age on your calf)...but she certainly didn't have the body of a 51 year old!!  She was wearing a bathing suit with shorts over it and her hair was in braided pig tails.  There was a 50 year old, tall, man running about the same pace.  I decided they both looked very strong so I started pacing off them.
When we all got to the first hill (of many...remember this course was rolling the whole time), Tall Man started walking-obviously watching his heart rate.  I heard Pig Tails and Tall Man exchange some words and I kept following her as we left him behind.   As I got toward the bottom of that first hill, Tall Man passed me and caught up with Pig Tails again.

"Okay...I know how this will work" I thought.  He is going to walk up the hills and catch up on the down (since his heart rate will climb if he runs up the hill, but will stay steady running faster down).  I didn't have my Garmin but it felt to me like Pig Tails pretty much kept a solid pace, and it felt like she (we) were running pretty well.

Close to the turn around point (2 miles) one of my friends, who was ahead of me, yelled at me to stop being a wuss, pick up my pace and pass her already.  That was the kick in the pants I needed to pass Pig Tails and Tall Man....and my friend.  :D

I already told you in my recap what happened after that...
My new target pair were both 40 years old-a man and a woman running together.  We rounded the corner and a volunteer in a wheelchair cheered loudly for us saying, "around the corner and down the hill to the finish!!" 
DOWN THE HILL???!!!  Oh yeah baby, I can do this.  About that time I realized this woman in my age group was another friend of mine.  I yelled out to her that I was coming for her when, from out of no where, Pig Tails FLEW by me yelling, "COME ON!!"

OH YES!!!!  I LOVE IT WHEN I HAVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO RACE TO THE FINISH!!  She was a little ahead and we only had about 150-200 to go to the finish. 

My first thought was, "I can't sprint that far...she got me."  In a split second I remembered so many words from Macca's book "I'm Here to Win", coupled with the verse of the day I got this morning in my email ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13)...and my second thought was, "you will NOT beat me across that line" and I took off with ALL I HAD.
I was able to pass her JUST BARELY before we crossed the mat.

Completing an event is fun.  "Racing myself" is great---but RACING a well matched competitor is beyond THRILLING.   It's only happened a few times, but having someone "challenge me" at the finish is just AWESOME.  ((Except when it was THAT TURKEY of a man who beat me in 2010's Turkey Chase...that challenge was completely UNFAIR.))

After the race was over Pig Tails and I talked quite a bit.  She told me it was her 29th consecutive time to do this event!!!!!  Can you even imagine???  Through all life's changes she continued to return year after year.  We talked about how we love to RACE.  Remember my friend who called me a wuss and told me to speed up???  She beat Pig Tails in their division by like SIX SECONDS!!

I can't imagine what I'll be doing in 10 years, but I'm pretty sure I'll still be racing someone to the finish line!

Thanks for a great race, Pig Tails.  And, thank you for stopping in...come again real soon!


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