It's not often one can test one's mettle. Our soldiers do it often, sometimes daily. Inner city teachers do it. Politicians not so much. Mettle is defined thus: "a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited or resilient way."
I signed up for the Rhubarb Days YMCA 5K in Emerald City the first of May. I had lost a little weight, was doing some jogging in Kitschland and thought I'd be up for a 5K. The more I thought about it the more worried I became. What little jogging I had done didn't mean I could jog 3.1 miles. Who was I to think because I had done it 15 years ago I could do it again? Especially since my arrival in Northlandia my training consisted mostly of getting off the recliner at the cabin and walking to the kitchen. Stupid big mouth.
This was a shot at the activity at the Y after the race. Free water and old man strut.
The day came and in the couple weeks prior I made several deals with myself. OK, if you are going to do it then the only goal is to finish. Go all the way, even if you have to walk some or most of it. Money spent, goal established, and a couple early morning walks/jogs from the Cabin across the woods toward Emerald City so as to get a feel for the damn thing. It had been a long time since my last 5K and the only thing that I remembered was how tough it was. Now I was older, creaky knees, with more ambition than ability.
The good party was I'd get a damn cool T-shirt out of it and maybe I'd avoid a heart attack.
This was the ultimate goal. The finish line.
The race began and I hovered toward the back not wanting to get trampled by the good runners who take this sort of thing seriously. Unfortunately, I was never able to recover from that hover. Once the pack separated from the good, the okay, the slow and the walkers, I set my pace. I should also say at this point that for the first mile or so I was toyed with by a nice young yuppie couple who also happened to have a kid in a stroller. We jockeyed back and forth for while and then I remembered to set my own pace and not let a stroller dictate my race. really can't remember if I ditched them or they ditched me, and I don't want to know.
Once I'd established my pace the going got easier. I ran into a couple people who knew me and we chatted a bit but what I needed to concentrate so I removed my self from most everyone and simply jogged. On the Oakview Terrace section in the second mile I came across a youngster who was walking. I told him to get going and not be outdone by an old guy. He turned around, smiled and scampered off like a hyper squirrel.
A guy in a lawn chair cheered me on and I told him I was working on my second lap. It was also fun to grab water at the end of the second mile and throw the cup away like you see on TV.
Now it was down hill from the gold course and entered the third and final mile. Problem was, once you got down hill you then had to go up hill again before you leveled off for the finish line. This part slowed me down some and I lost time but I never quit jogging.
At the final corner a young girl told me only 5 blocks to go and I knew then I'd not only make my goal of finishing but jogging all the way as well. In the last block I sped up some to pass a couple people and I heard some cheering as I sauntered into the finish chute and then it was over.
This video compresses the race course down to 20 some seconds.
I ran a Rhubarb Days 5k about 15 years ago, I suppose, and the picture above-above is post-race. Back in those days we had no cell phones so I found someone with a camera and asked if they would be so kind as to take my photo. It started over at the old Northside school and had no major hills like the present one has. The start was done by musket.
The present run is now conducted by a professional national outfit, everything well conducted and monitored. Once again I found someone to snap my picture. The relief that I accomplished my goal and then some was a kind of high that I enjoyed for quite a while. Old guys like me never get much of a chance to prove our mettle. I faced mine on May 3, 2017 and discovered it was in pretty good shape.