Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nice guys finish last? Not this one.

After a great long weekend that included three good runs I'm feeling very positive about my progress. It was less than a month ago that I took a walk around the neighborhood with my wife and needed to stop before completing a mile. By most measures I have reached a state of conditioning that allows me to push as hard as I wish without concern that it will trigger a relapse. I left the office on Friday with what I thought would be a weekend-ruining cold but my immune system knocked it out like a champ. I guess after taking on pneumonia, a head cold isn't much of a challenge. I attribute my quick recovery to the running I did this weekend. I honestly believe you can sweat your way out of a cold if the sweat is accompanied by physical exertion.

While it may be true that I'm rapidly moving toward my pre-January fitness level I also recognize that I'm short of the distance benchmarks I used to meet on my weekend runs. The longest continuous run I've managed this year has been 3.4 miles, far short of my usual 5 to 8 mile weekend distances. I wouldn't be concerned except that I'll need to cover almost five miles on some rough and technical terrain in just a few weeks when I race at Stillwell Woods. It occurs to me that the profile of runners for this race skews younger and (probably) more competitive than those in my past races. It's possible that I could finish last! Although some view me as competitive it's really me competing against myself. Will it bother me to be the last runner past the finish line? Well, I can tell you I wouldn't love it but I'd still feel okay about finishing a tough race like that two months after a week in the hospital. Either way I'd win. But if it comes down to a tight finish there's no way I'll be the last one over the line.

4 comments:

  1. I am certain you will not finish last!

    If it has never quite come true for me (it came close at a train race up in New Paltz), I am confident it won't be true for you!

    But it is those smaller fields of competition that make one feel the risk of it (someone does always have to finish last after all!)...

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  2. I looked again at the participants of this race and there are more people over 40 than last time I'd checked. More than a few are estimating a 50+ minute finish time which isn't far off from what I can probably do. There are only 70 people signed up (which is good because much of the course is singletrack) so at best my odds are 1 in 70 (or is it 1/69?) that I'll come in ahead of at least one person!

    Here's a question - what's worse - last place or DNF?

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  3. I guess that logic must dictate that DNF is worse than last place... otherwise the person in last place could just drop out before crossing the finish line.

    Of course then the next to last person would become the last place runner and they would have to dropout also... and this process could continue to reiterate until nobody finishes the race... after all first place is also last place if only one person is running!

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  4. Excellent point! I would much rather be last than DNF because the only reason I'd not finish would be due to injury.

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