Monday, January 03, 2005

A Wise Man

I used to be a competitive runner and was fairly successful at it before becoming injured. Even though I did not start running until my late 30's, I had always wanted to give it a try. Finally I got up the courage to shuffle around on my own until I was good enough to run with other runners. Eventually, I started entering races and had some success. When I was 41, I had a year of running and racing that one can only dream of.

Our local track club conducts a Grand Prix each year consisting of ten events for which points are awarded based upon overall and age group finishes. The Masters age groups (age 40 and above) have always been among the most competitive for both men and women here in our town. When I was in the 40-44 age group, we had several good runners, but there was only one that I had never beaten. One year, I made it my mission to try to win the Grand Prix for my age group. My strategy was to finish 2nd to my main rival in the shorter races (5 and 10 Kilometers), but win all the longer distances since she had never even entered a race beyond 10K. I was not even sure she could run the longer distances. I told my plan to a running friend, a local judge who had been a great mentor to many runners including myself. He said that he had heard that my rival was planning on running all the races that year and opined that there was no way I could beat her. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I show you!" With that he just grinned.

I trained really hard that year and ended up winning all the Grand Prix races and the Championship for my age group. By the end of that year, my rival was no longer entering races. When the awards were handed out, I turned to my friend and said, "I thought you said that there was no way I could beat her. I showed you, didn't I?" He smiled and said, "Why do you think I said that to you?"

My friend, the judge, was a very wise man.

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