Confession: I am married to a real runner. When we met nearly 10 years ago, he was merely competing in Ironman triathlons. Even though his style of training is to do as little as possible in order to finish and he neglects training elements such as stretching and diet, he is still very much a real runner. Nowadays he claims to be retired from Ironman racing and is solely focused on running marathons and ultramarathons (yes, he may be crazy). Some of his bucket list goals include completing a marathon in every state (18 done so far), finishing a 50 miler (done although not quite within the race's official time limit), and finishing a 100 miler (1st attempt he made it 65 miles).
Needless to say, with his passion for ultrarunning we don't get to very many 5k races any more. So after years of honing my skills at supporting and spectating races that can take up most of your day and nights (and let me tell you, it takes some skill, especially when it comes to planning and coordinating, to be a supportive wife and race crew member), I was pleased to be able to watch my dear hubby run a simple 5k this weekend. Even better was that the race took place only a few minutes from our doorstep. This made coordinating two kids on race day the easiest it's ever been.
After doing some research (my honey is all about the research) on past times for this race, my husband decided to go into this race with the goal of making the podium. Because this race benefits a local school district, the podium has been dominated by lanky teen boys from the local cross country teams. My husband, who will spend the next year staring down 40 like Clint Eastwood, had his work cut out for him.
At the finish, we watched the 14-year old winner come in looking like he just rolled out of bed and decided to run a 5k instead of playing Dungeons and Dragons on his X-Box (ok, I know NO ONE plays that anymore but I have NO IDEA what 14-year-olds do play nowadays). Then someone spotted the 2nd place finisher. As I watched the figure come up over the hill, I muttered something about how that looks like my husband. A few seconds later, and I realized it really was him! He was going all out trying to hold off two 12-year-olds.
He held on for 2nd place. His first ever podium finish (the closest until then had been a 4th place finish in a local triathlon with his brother). He then promptly collapsed onto the ground like the old man he is. The sad news is that he actually thought he was first because he never saw the winner go by him. But he was still thrilled to be able to scratch that accomplishment off his bucket list. It was even more fun for him when he realized that he was the only one in the top four who was old enough to drive.
I'm super proud of him, but the second-best part of the race was that I was able to snag not 1, but 2 awesome photos of racers in jeans for JoggingJeans.com. It was like having a top secret spy mission. This makes going to early morning races soooo worth it!