Monday, June 25, 2012

Being a "Good Sport"

This weekend I did a different kind of "endurance event".  I had not been out with my good friend to go listen to good underground music in a long time.  There was a very great artist in town this weekend and I knew I'd have to go.  Problem is that I had the Scotia Half-Marathon on the card for the next morning.  It wasn't an important race from an achievement point of view (it was a tune-up for Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens in 3 weeks) so I decided I'd make it work.

Lots of friends came up to my while I was out asking "are you sure you're going to run tomorrow"?  "Yup!", I'd say, "But it's going to be water only tonight".  At 3:00am as I was leaving, I got some high-fives and well wishes and I headed home.  My ears still ringing, I didn't really sleep and nearly dropped out of the race. 

7:00 rolled around and I decided it was game-on!  A mad dash to the start of the race at UBC.  I got there nearly 5 minutes after the gun went and I had to start from nearly the back of pack.  Still, I ran the best race I could and even pushed some good finishing pace for the last 5km.  Result:  1:36:22.  Not bad and not great, but as expected.

The special moment came as I was walking to go catch the bus home.  Lots of runners were still coming in (it was around the 2 hr mark in the race) and some little kids were cheering with their Dad for all the racers.  To them, they were having fun watching these athletes work their hardest to finish the last bit of racing...  they didn't care that they were the first or the last of the runners.  I went up to the kids and said "Hi, I heard you cheering when I was running by; it really helped me finish!  I think you deserve this!".  I handed them my finisher medal.  They looked at me like I was Superman and had just given them my 'S'.  Their Dad thanked me profusely and kept asking if I was sure I wanted to do that.  "It's my pleasure", I said.  The kids just held the medal and studied it, smiling ear to ear.  I bet they stayed for as long as they could to cheer the other runners.

I knew on Saturday that I was not going to run the race of my life.  My friends out with me on Saturday probably thought I was crazy, but committed.  Maybe these kids on Sunday are inspired to become athletes themselves.  I know that I'm inspired to share my love of athletics.  It's important to me to be a "good sport".