Barefoot Runner Wears Shoes! News at 11:
I wasn’t really third. Not sure what I was, to tell the truth. See, the organizers (disclaimer: friends of Team Sutcliffe) had limited trail length to work with, so they had to engage in some creative coursery. It was marked well, but to no avail. I got lost following the kid who beat me. It wasn’t his fault – I’m enveloped by a Bubble of Lostness that affects everyone within a fifteen foot radius. So really, it was my fault.
I say third, though, because I was right on second place’s heels when we took the wrong turn, and no one passed us. Realizing we were headed in the wrong direction and about to run the entire course again, we stopped for a second and acknowledged each other. The young runner said, “Well, good race!” and we shook hands. “Tell you what,” I said. “once we figure out where we are, let’s resume racing for what we’ll consider second place.” Following the voices, we found the course and sped up, passing some very surprised people. “Let’s go!” he said, finish line in site. I kept up but couldn’t pass. Good job, kid.
The Garmin said 3.45 miles in 29:48. Usually it’s short on trails.
Turns out we weren’t the only ones to mis-run the course, just among the few who went long instead of short. After a fun sprint to the finish (he got me by milliseconds, but I made him work for it), we were greeted by a bunch of runners who had already completed their route rendition. Some of them went back out to get the distance, crossing the finish twice. Since the times were done manually, the whole event became less of a race and more of a really fun trail run with random prizes. So officially, I was second in my AG and received a very nice medal made from a big stick. The overall top three (to cross the finish line) received huge 20 pound rocks with the Tough Strutter 5K logo painted on them. I was totally cool with that, because I was eating watermelon and delicious cranberry and white chocolate cookies, and that rock looked heavy. Besides, everyone got the coolest prize, which was a nice pint container for your favorite beverage:
Fancy straw included.
As the clock suggests, the course was also ridiculously hard (regardless of whether one was on or off it). Very technical and steep. I had to walk before the second mile. Because I didn’t trip or get hurt in any way, I can say it was super fun. I really like trails when I’m not getting hurt.
After the dispersement of the sticks and stones awards, the young gentleman who received second place overall came up to me with the 30 pound rock. “Here, I think we should trade.” He was very serious, like he was setting something right in this wacky, cockamamie universe of ours. Which I really liked, not because I wanted or felt I deserved the 40 pound rock, but because he was wearing a rainbow-striped pinwheel hat.
There we were, about to trade sticks and stones. Me in monkey shoes, him in helicopter hat. Looking around, I saw everybody was making such exchanges, even gifting their capital (Iris got a stick! I mean, medal!). It was a reenactment of the Dawn of Commerce.
I went in search of the kid to
unload give the 50 pound rock to him, but he was nowhere to be found. Well, besides Facebook, but that’s not a suitable venue for rock-giving purposes. So now it sits in our yard.