The clock read "18:55", and I thought, "Holy crap."
I was approaching the finish line of the North Hills 5K in Raleigh, about to throw up.
"I could break 19 minutes! That would be fast*!"
So I sprinted to the finish line, with my eyes scanning beyond it, looking for a bucket to place the contents of my stomach.
*I use the word "fast" in a the technical sense, as defined by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). They have a standardized chart used to gage performance in a 5K. I have reproduced the one for men below:
|IAAF Men's 5K performance ranking|
|19:00 and above||Average guy|
|18:00 - 18:59||Fast|
|17:00 - 17:59||40 year olds who were on the collage track team|
|16:00 - 16:59||Insufferable skinny cross country team teenagers|
|15:00 - 15:59||Guys who work at the shoe store|
|14:00 - 14:59||Guy at the shoe store named Bobby who sold me my|
"Asics Gel Pillow Plodders with roll bar and built in iPod."
|13:00 - 13:59||Targets of doping investigation|
|13:00 and below||East Africans who grew up without shoes|
As a runner, I am in the "Average guy" class, and I am proud of that. Back in high school, I was always the last kid picked for the team in gym class, so acheiving the heights of cardiovascular mediocrity is a quite an accomplishment for me.
And now here I was, with the title of "Fast" only several nauseating steps away. As I crossed the finish line the clock read "19:01". This distracted my stomach enough that it forgot about vomiting, at least until I considered the hot dogs being served.
I still held out hope for a sub 19, because 19:01 was just my "gun time". This race used timing chips, so my actual "chip time" could be a few seconds less! Then I could brag, and say "Yeah, I ran an 18... something. ".
I had to wait until the next day, constantly checking for the final results online, until I finally got my result: 19:00
Ug. One second away from being fast. Should have just took it easy and had a hot dog.
More pictures here.