Racing is fun. At least, it can be. Lately I've been feeling that I don't want to train, and I don't want to race, but I want to say that I raced, so I just do what I've got to do. So far this year I've done a triathlon and a 5K; on the queue is a 10K and another 5K (at least).
One of the Fun Features of the racing atmosphere is that often professional sports photographers will be on hand to capture the event for you. Just what you wanted! Pictures of yourself during a time when you're (1) exerting an extreme amount of energy and (2) not expecting to get your picture taken! Sounds perfect! In fact, the race organizers are quick to remind you, "Don't forget to SMILE on the course!" The results are everything you'd imagine from this scenario. No matter how tough or triumphant I feel during or after a race, I am supremely embarrassed when I look at the race photos. What a fool! Who let me out there looking like that?!?
The idea is that after the race, you will peruse the race photographers' site and purchase (!) the photos which were taken of you during your race. How ever can you find yourself among the thousands of pictures of your race? With your race number, of course! This is one main reason that I wore my race number on my back during my triathlon.
During my 5K, I was doing pretty well for myself. One by one I would 'pick people off,' which is to say, I wouldn't concentrate on beating an entire crowd, just the person immediately in front of me; after I'd passed that person, I'd work on passing the next person, and so on.
As I neared the finish line, I passed one final girl and headed in. Amidst the cheering, I heard Merlin call my name, so I threw him a face, but I shouldn't have broken my concentration: the girl I had just passed was pounding toward the finish line, too, and she was trying to pick me off. How dare she! I reached with my foot and it seemed we crossed the finish line at exactly the same time. I made a mental note of her number: 1106. I would look it up later, and compare our times (not something I'd EVER done with another competitor, by the way, but this incident made me do it).
I learned a few things about 1106: she's 16. And while we did cross the finish line at the same time (gun time), my time bested hers by 11 seconds (chip time), and my pace was 4 seconds faster.
I felt pretty good about myself.
And then I looked on the race photography site. And I remembered when I was about to cross the finish line and I made a face at Merlin.