I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but last year I resolved to not enter races in 2018.
A year ago I often did not feel well when running, and I’d become slow. Why enter a race when you feel like you can’t run fast?
But last October I did the Monster Mash 5K and then last month, the Jingle Bell 5K. In our Jingle Bell 5K team photo below, I’m at the top left, wearing a wig I bought in the late ’70’s for skits at the summer camp I worked at. I’ve used it many times over the years.
Both races raised money for groups in which acquaintances are involved, and they were costume-themed, so I didn’t race. I merely participated.
I wore a wig for both races, and I cannot stress how important and necessary it is to own wigs, especially if you are a man in your early-60’s. It’s a wonderful feeling to toss your head to the side or use your hand as if it were a comb to get your long, beautiful locks out of your face.
I broke my resolution last month when asked to run on a team the week before the USATF National Club Cross Country Championship, a high-profile event for runners from around the country. For this race, I opted not to wear a wig.
I started feeling better in the autumn, and my running improved to the point I was confident I’d be a benefit for the team and not astound others with a super slow pace.
Unbeknownst to me, most competitors in this race are elite runners. The winner of the men’s open race was Ben Blankenship, who made the final of the 2016 Olympic 1500 meters.
I was in the race for men 60 and over, also elite runners for their age. The winner – a guy same age as me, ran the 8K (5-mile) course at a 5:49 per mile pace. This is not too far off the pace I ran in road races in my 20’s.
Here’s another example of the quality competition – a guy a little ahead of me had a bib for the 70-74 age group. In the last mile I pulled even. With a strong finish, I beat him by 4 seconds. My pace was 7:26 per mile. The guy I just managed to beat was 74-years-old.
Despite finishing 71st out of 128 runners and beating only two runners my age or younger, the experience made me confident I can do well in local races since I’m at the lower end of my age group. I plan to enter lots of races, dominate my age group and win some intense medal ware. Then I’ll move on to my ultimate goal – winning the hand of a woman.
After amassing a trove of race medals, I’ll wear them in pubic and upon sight, women will be entranced by the glimmering display and enter a state of idolization. From a field of alluring candidates, I’ll choose one to be my new partner.