Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friendly Finish in Mt. Angel

This morning I strolled a distance of 10,000 meters as a participant in the Oktoberfest 10K road race in beautiful Mt. Angel, Oregon. I covered the distance in something like 42 minutes 26 seconds (6:51 min/mi pace), which was good enough for second place in my age division (official results). I got a red ribbon! And a t-shirt bearing the handsome image of two German stereotypes seen here. I wonder if those old-timey clothes are sweat-wicking?

Regarding the t-shirt: it's black and I love that! More race t-shirts should be black and fewer should be white.

The blue ribbon went to a very friendly guy named Erick, with whom I ran stride for stride during most of the second half of the race. Somewhere between mile three and four, I decided to elevate my pace for a strong finish, and passed by two runners, one of which turned out to be Erick. Not long after I passed him, he re-passed me, but then encouraged me to run alongside him. We matched pace and tried to chat as we did, but I'm not really in the habit of chatting while I run, certainly not when I'm running pretty hard, as I was today, so I don't know how much actual communication took place. He pulled a little ahead not far past the five mile mark and beckoned me to keep up, and while I was willing, my little legs weren't quite up to it. He remained anywhere from five to ten seconds ahead of me through the finish, well within sight but in the lead, and at the end we congratulated one another and thanked one another for pushing each other to a strong pace. It was only when they tacked up the final standings that I realized the guy I'd been pacing took first place in my division.

Maybe if I had realized he was in my division, and that we were contending for first and second place, I would have tried to trip him or something. Maybe.

It was a very nice race. Erick ran well and so did I.

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