I was used to running, walking, even going to the gym and doing all my workouts, by myself! It was what I did. It was what I liked. It was my comfort zone. Previously a few years back I had given running a short lived and sporatic shot. When it came time to do the two 5k races I managed to get in before giving up my new found career in running (for a minute anyway), I was a little freaked out and clueless as to what to expect with all those other people so close to me and in MY space! There were too many people, I hadn't worn my IPod, I could hear myself gasping for my breaths (very annoying!), and then the race started! HAH! Fastforward to February 2011, I decided to give this running thing another shot, and be a little more steadfast with my training this time. And I did start out by myself, but by Spring/Summer was ready to maybe look into giving a running group a shot.
|'Always Earned, Never Given'|
Observations from the Back of the Pack
by Rose Hamel Scovel on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 9:32am
When you are a back of the pack runner/walker there are a number of things in races that are just...different...than mid-packers and the front of the pack experience...
Don't get me wrong - I LOVE races, have since my first one. I have done 67 of them since October 2008. I wouldn't have done that many if I didn't find them to be amazing fun, even when they "suck." Some races are so bad you decide not to do them again...or give them a second chance and if they still suck you give up on that one, but you don't give up on racing. There's something about the early morning arrival times, conversation in porta potty lines and starting corrals, and experience along the course that keeps you going. And there's the finish line...and in many cases...the MEDALS!
But if you are like me (a firm back of the packer) here are some of the things that are just different:
- it generally takes so long to cross the start line (especially in big races) that the split timing clocks are totally irrelevant
- you have no chance of setting a PR if it is "gun time" only for the start
- there are people who think they walk an 11:00 mile when really they walk a 15:00 mile and you have to pass them early on
- you will be passed by at least one woman that looks like she weighs more than twice what you do
- you will be passed by a guy who had quadruple bypass surgery
- the guy who had quadruple bypass surgery will tell his running buddy (in your earshot) that if you are breathing like that you need to slow down
- you will initially be passed by some guy wearing basketball shorts and untied basketball shoes that don't fit correctly...it's ok - you usually pass him later
- you will be passed by an 8 year old
- the ground after the Gatorade stop will be so sticky you feel and hear your shoes peeling up with every step
- you may end up killing yourself on discarded water cups if you aren't careful
- the cheerleaders will be "bored" and not cheering or packing up before you pass them
- you very may well be passed by armed service members or firefighters in full gear (I asked once how much their pack weighed and got an answer of 60 lbs - I figure I am 60 lbs overweight so it just makes us even)
- you very well may be passed by a costumed runner...this never made me cry until it was Gumby and Pokey
- you will be told by someone who has never run that you don't need to train for 13.1 miles
- you will be told by someone who doesn't run that "anyone" can run a 5 hour marathon
- you will mentor someone through the training and pre-race (and transition for tri) and then they will go on to win their age group (or at least place) in their first race - something you will never achieve
- The finish line may not have the cheering throngs that greeted the early finishers and may be out of your favorite post-race food
But in the end, you had a great experience, met great people, and got some exercise. You also did something that many people will never do...so get out there and race. ESPECIALLY if you will be at the back of the pack. And join me in the prayer: Dear God, please let there be someone behind me.
|Rose with me in the 'back of the pack' at a Tuesday Night Trail run|