Gun Time: 37:06
Chip Time: 36:55
Placing Overall: 40th out of 253
Placing in Age Group: 6th out of 15 (M40-44)
Theme Song: The Beatles, “Getting Better”
All year long, my colleague Rachael had been gunning for me.
I know this because she told me so. We had both been in the Cambridge Mill race earlier in the year (bloody great hill at KM 6.5 and all, though this time I was a bit more judicious about how I started) and I had managed to run under 40 minutes, finishing at 39:55, a couple of minutes ahead of her. Apparently she was none too pleased about losing to Fat Dad and had used it as fodder for training all summer. Although to make it out as some kind of epic showdown was overstating the case a bit, we were both registered to run the Remember Run 8K, and I’m pretty sure one of her goals was to ensure that she vanquished the stink of the defeat by my corpulent self.
Thing was, Fat Dad was no longer really Fat Dad anymore. I was up to about 20 miles a week (legitimately, this time) and considerably less chunky. I was actually pretty optimistic about my chances in this one. The weather forecast initially was a bit terrifying, with the prospect of running 8K in freezing rain looming, but as it turned out the precipitation held off and the temps were around the 5 Celsius mark as we approached the start time, and winds were calm (pretty good running weather in my estimation). Dressed up in my new cold weather gear, including black Columbia beanie hat and gloves, I thought I looked pretty smart.
“You look like a burglar, Daddy,” my three year old daughter opined.
Any race that starts with a pipe band is pretty much OK by me. I figure it’s a vestige of my Scottish heritage asserting itself that I get all goosepimply when I hear that beautiful skirling sound. The race proceeds were going to the local Legion, and I thought of my grandfather and his effort in the war. Silently I dedicated the race to his memory.
So then the gun, and off I went. This was the first race where I actually felt good after the first couple of KM, like I was pacing myself properly. I even managed to smile at a camera a time or two, silly looking beanie and all. (The damn thing kept coming off and I ended up ditching it).
I got to the 5K mark and still had plenty of spring left in my step. This was rather new ground for me and I wasn’t sure quite what to do. Should I pick up the pace a little and try for negative splits? Was it too early to do this? I didn’t have a timing device on me so I wasn’t quite sure what my splits even were. I decided to stay the course for awhile and try to pick things up in the last couple of kilometers.
Soon it transpired that the woman who was running directly in front of me for most of the second half of the race was none other than my colleague Rachael. She did not look best pleased to see me pull up beside her, but nonetheless we exchanged slightly out of breath pleasantries. We passed the 7K mark and it was at this point that I decided to hell with it, time to charge to the finish. As I kicked it into a higher gear, a snarl came from behind me.
“Oh, no you don’t, buddy.”
I looked over in time to see Rachael power past me like a freight train. As I watched, amazed, she sprinted past me and around the corner to the last straightaway. I gave it my best shot at catching her, but it was not to be. Behold the vanquishing of Not Quite As Fat Dad:
I couldn’t begrudge her for this one. After all, she’d put a ton of work in just to beat me. And, she finished first in her age category. Also, I was really happy with my time, having shaved a full 3 minutes off my PR, which took some of the sting out of losing to her.
Just know this Rachael: next time that 8K comes around, Fat Dad’s gonna be waiting.