Sunday I ran my first race of 2011. It was a small local 5k/10k event in its second year and I was entered in the 5k run. There were about 200 people participating in both events plus a 3k kids run. I had no expectations even though 2010 was a very good running year for me. Especially compared to 2009, which was a bad year marked with injury (a back strain from bell ringing in Thailand) and illness (a lung infection that took 3 months to diagnose and 6 more months to fully recover from) with very few races run.
I just wanted to finish well, with a smile on my face. The course was quite hilly so I figured that I wasn’t going to be setting a PR that day. So I was very surprised when I saw the clock as I was approaching the finish line. I glanced down at my watch and saw that it was showing the same time as the timing clock! Given the hills in the course, I was very pleased.
As I walked around cooling off and drinking water, I noticed the medals on the scorer’s table. That’s when I started wondering if my time was good enough for an age group prize. After all, my birthday in December pushed me into a whole new age category. And perhaps my 5k time was good enough to place in my new age group. In the end, I convinced myself that there were plenty of faster runners in my age group, decided not to wait for the awards ceremony, and headed home for a shower and breakfast.
For the rest of the day I had a nagging feeling that I had won an age group prize. I couldn’t stop thinking that being older had to have its rewards.
When the official results were finally posted, I was not disappointed. I took second place in my age group. Getting older does have its advantages. If I had run this race before December, I would have been in another age group altogether and I wouldn’t have even made the top five in that age group for women. But the difference of one birthday was enough to push me all the way up to second place in my new age group.
I can’t wait for my next age group bump!