I have been “running” for two years or so now, and earlier today, I ran my second Dexter-Ann Arbor 5K. I always make a point of saying “running” because I am extremely slow, so slow that many would say that I am not so much running as I am walking kind of quickly and with exaggerated running-like movements. Last year, I finished the 5 K in 42 minutes, and this year, it was 43. Just as a point of comparison, Steve B. finished in around 30 minutes, and I think that Bill HD (who had rode his bike 100 miles yesterday as part of a fund-raiser for diabetes) finished in the low 20 minute range. So, yeah, I’m slow.
I’m slow mainly because I’m fat, though I have to say I think that while I could run faster if I lost 20 or more pounds, I don’t think I could ever be “fast” as a runner. I just don’t think I have that sort of build or desire. But hey, I don’t care if I’m in a race like this and getting passed by little kids and old ladies; besides being a great way to exercise (I try to “run” 3 times a week for 30 minutes, which is for me a very good and efficient workout– and then I ride a stationary bike or the elliptical machine and also mess with wight machines two times a week), the Dexter-Ann Arbor run is a lot of fun. I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you just want to walk it.
Anyway, this year’s race was was made a little more interesting, amusing, and even competitive by someone who Bill HD nicknamed “Mr. Coronary.” An appropriate nickname, though I also thought this guy might stroke out and/or drop dead just from being crotchety at a couple of different points. He was more or less with me for two-thirds of the race. I’d guess he was in his sixties, maybe seventies. At first, I didn’t actually see him; rather I started hearing him making these Tourette’s-like noises– just screaming out stuff like “GAAA!” and “SHIT!” every once in a while. Then he got close enough to me for me to hear him gasping crazily. He really did sound like he was in trouble.
The last 1.2 miles of the course is Main street off of Huron River Drive, and it is mostly uphill, not the easiest finish for a friendly 5K run-walk event. Mr. Coronary and I kept passing each other; I basically kept my steady but turtle-like pace, while Mr. Coronary would go past me then slow down and scream out crazy stuff and sound like he was going to die. He kept asking people on the side of the course “how much further?” and he never liked the answer.
And then, after he stopped for a moment, bent over and leaning on his knees (never a good sign to get into what can only be described as the “ready to hurl” position), he took off his shirt. Not a pretty sight, but oddly motivating to me. The last tenth of a mile or so, something about the wheezing, foul-mouthed, angry, fat, old, and now shirtless man inspired me. I thought well jeez, I can’t lose to this guy. So I kicked it up just a tiny notch and got past him, as the picture above suggests.
Victory is sweet.