By Chamberlain Zulauf, Student Reporter
Well, I got fourth on the 4th, hardware included. For the first time in my career, which hasn’t seen many road races, I secured a plate award which is exactly what it sounds like. Some sports get you belt buckles or cups. If you’re a runner you get a plate, probably because we’re all obsessed with food. I’ve seen collections of them and have always wanted to win one myself.
I went into the race on Monday wanting to just have fun. One thing every runner has to develop is expectation management. Not every race can be a PR and you can’t win them all. I knew I wasn’t going to win the whole shebang since I’m in the middle of mileage training but that wasn’t the point of showing up. There hasn’t been an opportunity to let myself run fast like that in a few months so that environment alone was worth the early wake up. Everyone at these events is so positive too, quick to congratulate each other as we fall in. The ultimate sign of respect from one runner to another is extending a hand after being beat in a race to help them off the ground. It felt refreshing to go out there and have a race against friends and people I look up to rather than against established rivals. During the season I hate to lose more than I love to win but this race was more like celebrating the sport.
The starting gun went off at eight in the morning and we pounced to a start. The course candy-caned to the right immediately then we flew straight downhill through the first quarter mile. In my head I was wondering if we were going so fast because we were facing downhill or if it was the familiar feeling of racing. In the last three and three quarters of the race I found out the latter was truer.
The next morning as I write this, I’ve run three miles earlier this morning and still have to do eight later to make up the mileage I missed out on yesterday. One thing that was definitely expected was to be quite stiff today but despite fatigue I bury my head and lean forward like I’m running downhill. When you’re running like that all you have to do is spin your legs under yourself.