Okay, I swore I'd never do theme days on my blog, and this may or may not become a recurring thing. I stumbled upon something funny, though (and a little lame, but mostly funny), and it involves me (sort of), so I had to share.
A few of the half dozen of you who visit my blog may know that I've had some good "close but no cigar" races-the six seconds off of Boston Qualifying in 2008, or the dog being declared the female winner at a very small area 5K last year where I'd actually managed to be the first of the human females. I've been more than a little busy over the past two weeks, so when I got all my work out of the way yesterday morning, I took advantage of a rare quiet house to put my feet up, kick back, and do whatever I felt like doing. I blogged, I knocked out a few chapters of recreational reading (Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run"-I'm really getting in to it), and then I wandered over to the Bolder Boulder website. Despite our recent reduction in income, this race does look like something I should still be able to run this year as my friend Liz and her husband Alex are again graciously opening the doors of their townhome in Boulder where I may stay again.
As the Bolder Boulder is such a large race (second largest in the nation, with over 50,000 runners), their awards work a bit differently than other races. There are no age groups, but rather awards for the top 15 finishers for each individual age. It's just another one of the little things they do to make this huge race feel kind of like a local race, giving people who might be in the mix for age groups in their own cities and towns a chance to do the same thing in the streets of Boulder.
I paced my oldest daughter in 2008, and when she finished 5th among 8-year-old girls, she got a small medal in the mail a few weeks later. It was pretty cool for her, and when I went up to Boulder solo last year, I'd scoped out the prior year's results for my age, and made it a goal to make it into the top 15, something that certainly wouldn't be a given, but appeared to be possible if I ran hard. Yeah, it's totally the "Meet the Parents" ninth place ribbon from an awards perspective when you talk about a 15th place medal, but it was more about just making that standard. It was a good thing to aim for on that hilly course. So, at last year's race, I had a decent and consistently split but not out-of-this-world outstanding race. I finished 16th for my age, about 15 seconds off 15th place and a bit more than 30 seconds behind 14th place. It was a little bit of a bummer to miss a goal by just a bit, but whadaya gonna do? I did my best but it just wasn't one of those days where you feel bulletproof.
So, anyway. Back to the free time and navel gazing yesterday afternoon. I decided to pull up the results for my age, and then thought, "hey, I wonder if I saw any of these women on the course?" I have a decent memory for faces, and even though there's the multi-wave system at the race, I knew that a lot of them who run around my pace would be situated in waves close to mine, or even MY wave. Who knows...if any of them are really distinctive looking, maybe I'll be able to spot them on the course THIS May.What the heck-this would be a fun fact-finding mission for the afternoon.
One by one, I clicked on the names and photos of the ladies who finished ahead of me. I don't know how I missed this last year when I originally found my result, but one of them turned out to be Melody Fairchild, a two-time national cross country champion who now has a running camp for girls, and focuses on girls being strong, healthy runners with good nutritional, training, and recovery practices. Sweet-I think it's great how she's giving back to the sport, influencing young runners positively, and is still kicking it out there. If I'm following in her footsteps, that's pretty neat.
I continued down the list, and clicked on the 14th place finisher for my age, a woman named Jennifer B. who finished in a time of 46:54. I clicked through to her photos, and what did I find?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "Jennifer."
I was confused for a minute, and thought that maybe it was one of those deals where the photos were misfiled because the bib number was hard to read. If you look at all the photos, though, there are several more clear shots of "Jennifer," and everything matches up between names, numbers and results. Apparently, the "real" Jennifer couldn't make the race and gave/sold her bib to this dude. Who didn't really care if it monkeyed with the results to run all out and/or cross the finish line as "Jennifer."
Kind of a lame thing to do, but again-it was just a goal I was after, so it was cool to find out that I really WAS in the top 15! Exactly #15 to be exact. That is...if the other women in my age group REALLY were the age they claimed to be (cue the sinister cackle). If things work out the way I'm hoping they do, I will be back in Boulder again in May, and will take another swing at an official top 15 finish.