02 September 2008

The Great Train Race

Alright, I have to showboat a little here.

Let me preface what I'm about to say with one important fact: despite my goal of entering at least one 5k or 10k per year for the last who-knows-how-many years, I haven't placed in even one running race since high school. And I'm okay with that, since running really isn't a passion of mine — it's just a mechanism by which I try to maintain some level of physical stamina, so that I can take my twice-annual backpacking trip without fear of a cardiac event. (That, and races are just fun. You get a cool T-shirt and they feed you afterwards.)

Well. Given my past performance, you can imagine my disbelief when I placed second in my age bracket in The Great Train Race, which was held in conjunction with Ypsilanti's Heritage Festival.

I'm only a little bit embarrassed to admit that when I saw the results, for a brief and glorious moment I felt a swell of kinship to Michael Phelps. Yes, I'd like to thank my family and friends for all their support, and especially my training partner, Buster...

Okay, so there was no tear-jerker award ceremony, and at only 140 entrants, it was definitely a very small race. And never mind the fact that I was second out of only 10 women in my age bracket (which was 35-39, since I know you're wondering). And the fact that my time was a leisurely 28:38. And the fact that a 69-year-old man beat me by well over a minute. No matter. I still placed, and that was a pretty big (and unexpected) rush.

The host of the event was The Corner Brewery, a nifty little beer garden and bottler of Arbor Brewing Company beers. No beer for this runner, though, as I wanted to finish The Great Train Race without turning into a Great Train Wreck before the finish line. Plus it was way too early for beer - the race started at 8:10 a.m.

Why 8:10 a.m., you ask? Well, the starting line is right next to the train tracks by the Ypsilanti Farmers Market, and the race officially starts as soon as the 8:10 Amtrak comes barreling past. For a pretty sweet half-minute or so, all the runners run parallel to this massive and thunderous train. It's really cool.

Long story short, I ended up with this kitschy but adorable medal, which the kids are convinced is made of real silver.

I haven't tried to convince them otherwise.

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