Bill and I woke up to torrential rain that day. The wind was blowing and the downpour was coming in sideways, as it does sometimes around here. The plan was to suit up and drive to Anacortes for the Sunset Loop Relay
run. Most participants would be in teams of four, each taking one 2.5-mile loop before passing the baton to the next runner. Bill wanted to get about 17 miles in last weekend as part of his training for the Boston Marathon
, so he planned to do the full 10 miles on his own. And since I’ve been feeling ready to ramp up beyond six miles in a single run (my foot isn’t totally healed, but it’s much improved), I decided to come along for the ride/run.
When we saw the weather, Bill balked. Nobody loves to run in the pouring rain, but we do it often enough that I was surprised how adamant he was about not setting foot on the trail if it didn’t let up that morning. Anacortes is an hour from our house, so we decided to take a chance that the weather would shift before we got there and, guess what? It did.
Once we had arrived in Anacortes, there was not another rain drop!
Here’s the thing about doing a race in which most of the other runners are taking turns: They run only a fraction of what you run. That seems obvious, of course, but when Bill predicted I would finish LAST, I realized he was right. Always at the back of the pack, there’s only one other time I ever remember coming in last. It was a 30K at Birch Bay. In that run there were two people behind me the whole race but somewhere before the finish, they bailed out, so although I finished last, I wasn’t last on the course. This race stood the chance of being my first DLF (Dead Last Finish) fair and square.
I wasn’t vying for the honor of DLF, mind you, but I was prepared for the possibility. And sure enough, as soon as I did the first loop, I was pretty sure the course was going to take me longer than everyone else. Don’t ask me how you can run in a circle and still be going UP hill the whole way, but we did. Actually, the course was gorgeous. There were views of the water at several points and the whole paved drive was accessorized with the beautiful red bark of Madrona trees. But the route consisted of long, winding ups with sharp, short downs, which made me feel as if I could barely catch my breath before climbing again.
I’m happy to report that my foot felt good and my legs were working well for me, so I ran the whole course until the last lap when I walked part of the biggest hill. Bill joined me for that final loop and I’ll admit to accepting the Prague Push for one of biggies, too. I came over the finish line at 2:08:58 – not bad I felt, but still DLF!
You don’t get a prize for for being DLF, but you do get to know that you kept going longer than everyone else. Let’s take pride in whatever we can. Life is short, why not?