It was a bittersweet moment.
I stood in the beer garden of the ABQ Brew Dash 5k, having just completed my last competitive race as a single lady [I’m doing the Bolder Boulder 10k later this month, but fun will be the operative word there]. As I drank my beer and tried to keep warm, I felt the tired afterglow that comes with a satisfactory race performance, but I also felt a tiny bit forlorn.
I didn’t have anyone to share it with – Robin Hood was out hunting, and none of my runner friends could make it.
Apparently I’ve entered a new phase in my proudly-independent life.
To be clear, it was in fact a positive experience on the whole. I had looked forward to this for weeks – running events in Albuquerque that serve beer afterwards are rare, as are evening races that aren’t held in summertime heat. A free beer with my race bib AND I don’t need to wake up early? Sweet!
Here is a fact: May weather in Albuquerque changes its mind constantly. Sunny, warm and calm one day; windy and cold the next. Brew Dash Day leaned towards the latter, which made warming up and hanging out before the race interesting.
But! God decided to favor us runners, because there was only one brief stretch on the course where the wind blew directly in our faces. Whew!
As far as my own race went, I knew on the starting line that I faced some stiff competition. After enough years of racing, you develop a sense for these things. It has nothing to do with what a runner looks like or what she’s wearing or whether you saw her warming up. Maybe it’s some sort of alpha female pheromone.
Anyway. The starting horn blared, and we were off. One girl left the rest of us frankly in the dust, but a group of five or six of us stayed fairly close together. I decided to keep in contact with them and see what happened.
I passed one girl – hooray!! I passed another one – hooray!! At this point, coming up on the last mile, I was tiring but trying to be steady. I was close behind one girl in particular. Come on, I told myself. She’s RIGHT THERE!
It didn’t happen; she edged me by a few seconds. I gave it all I had, but that day, she was the faster runner. I can’t complain, though – I ran 21:37, good for 5th overall female!
I got in line to get my commemorative pint glass and free beer. About then, the temperature dropped noticeably, and the wind wasn’t getting any weaker. No matter! I ran hard, and I was going to celebrate my performance and my last race as a Banks with a tasty beverage, gosh darn it!
So I did. And I did feel a little lonely, but maybe that’s natural. Maybe, when you’re about to commit to spending the rest of your life with someone, it’s right to miss them when they’re not there to celebrate the good times with you.
Does that mean I’ll never go solo to another race? Heck no! After all, if you always have someone to carry your stuff, you’ll get spoiled.
Here’s to my years of running as a single gal – and many more in the future as a married one!