Bean had her very last cross country meet of the 2014 season this past Saturday. She gathered with thousands of her newest friends at Masterson Station Park in Lexington for the elementary and middle school state championships. The Powell County elementary school girls’ team didn’t place high, but all of the girls ran hard. The coach relegated tales of previous years when kids were collapsing and puking at the finish.
That hearkened me back to a regional meet I ran in high school when our coach told us somberly that we’d all get our best times during that meet. As we toed up to the starting line with a couple hundred other guys and I looked around at my teammates I was pretty sure the look of horror on their faces was mirrored on mine. I got my best ever times in the mile and 5k that day. 5:55 and 19:49 respectively.
Lily got her best mile time in the 2k race. I have a photo of her tagging the mile sensor at 9:32. I’m not sure what her chip times was, but it would have been pretty close to that. For a seven year old who just started running competitively that’s pretty darn good. She was hurting like so many others. She came past me with her hands clasped behind her head and a look of anguish on her face. She hardly noticed me on the sidelines cheering her on and taking photos.
|Smile now girls; the pain is about to begin|
|Lily Bean fighting to the end|
|Looking like little POWs after crossing the finish line|
|All the races were deep of field|
|Sophie (white PC jersey) on her way to eight place|
Sophie Moon, a middle school girl on the team, placed eighth in her race. She was at least twenty back with a half mile to go. That kid tore ‘em down to the finish and made good on her assertion that she’d finish in the top ten. That’s inspiring that is.
Lily says she’ll run next year. I’m already looking forward to the 2015 cross country season. It motivates me to run and do push myself seeing these kids find the drive within themselves to do better. We encourage them, yes, but it’s apparent that the dig deep down and find something within that helps them fight to the finish.
Powell County high school runners still have regional and (hopefully) state competition to go, but the younger kids are all finished until next fall. Congratulations to all of them and their efforts!
I may have mentioned that I have a half-hearted goal of breaking my twenty-six year 5k PR of 19:49. When I think hard about it I realize 19:48 is a long way from 27:00. Those years since I was fourteen, when I weighed less than 150 pounds, and was full of stupid energy have morphed my mind and body into a completely different person. But I still possess the same genetics that made it possible for me to run that fast after a season of goofing off, poor diet, and little focus on improvement. It was my freshman year of high school.
These days I can muster more focus. I’m smarter, have access to better training info, and I deeply feel my mortality. So there’s that.
Over the weekend a climber friend, Kipp, won a 5k in a time of 19:45. Kipp is 47 years old. Now Kipp has been running all summer in longer events. He finished the Rugged Red well ahead of me. But if someone 47 years old can best that time then I know I can best that time. If not now, when?
Another climber friend, in fact a former guided client—Al—won his age division (over 50) at the Stone Steps 50k in Cincinnati recently as well. I’m perfectly happy with the idea of winning my age division in a race.
Where did this competitive person come from? I’m not used to these ideas. I’ve never really been competitive. Of course I still make goals that are more self-competition that overall, but I do feel an underlying desire to be the guy breaking the tape at the finish. Maybe because I never have…
Time to go. I've got work to do.
Time to go. I've got work to do.