Vainglorious-Filled with or given to vainglory. Vainglory-Excessive elation or pride over one’s own achievements, abilities, etc.; boastful vanity.
When it comes to running, I am terribly vanglorious.
I am a running snob.
I ran the Crim 10 mile in Flint today for about the third time, but you’d never know it. Why? Because I ran as someone else.
Why did I run as Tina Bernardin? Because I am vainglorious!
I hadn’t originally planned to run the Crim this year, and so I wasn’t training for it. Who am I kidding? I haven’t been training for anything since I ran the Bayshore 1/2 Marathon in May. I have just been trying to run for fun—no specific pace times, no speed work outs—just running because I want to and not because I have to. As luck would have it, I ended up with the opportunity to run with Christy Perros.
On a side, but somewhat related, note, Christy and I are both in physical therapy at the moment. The injury for which I am being treated is “sitting hunched over at a computer for 8 hours a day for the past 20 years.” Christy, on the other hand, actually has a running-related injury. As such, Christy wasn’t planning to set any land-speed records today. Based on some of her very recent runs, she knew it would be slower than usual and suspected there might be some significant walking involved.
Personally, I was thrilled at the idea of NOT running a fast race—not having to push myself and be exhausted and hot and grumpy the whole time. HOWEVER, what with the internet these days and everything being recorded digitally until the end of time, and me being terribly vainglorious, I also didn’t want a documented “slower” race time than I “could” snag if I pushed myself. Alas, Tina Benardin was born.
And quite frankly, the way the morning/pre race was shaping up, I wasn’t even sure if I would get to register:
- 6:00 a.m.-Christy picks me up.
- 7:15 a.m.-We arrive at the parking lot for the shuttle to the race after getting “lost” the exact same way for the second year in a row.
- 7:15:02 a.m.-I have to pee like something else.
- 7:16 a.m.-My options for peeing include a gas station across the street (which I am encouraged to avoid due to a hold up, murder, and fire up the street at another gas station three years ago) and an area of trees along the back of the property line and people’s homes.
- 7:16:02 a.m.-Decision is made to NOT pee.
- 7:16 a.m.-Get in line to catch the shuttle for the 8:00 a.m. race start.
- 7:43 a.m.-Get on the bus.
- 7:50 a.m.-Get dropped off in a remote area of downtown over 1/2 mile from race.*
- *Just a mental note-I’ve had to pee badly for 35 minutes.
- 7:58 a.m.-Miraculously, we find a bank of porta potties, with no lines, about 3 blocks from expo, which is where I need to go to register and where Christy needs to go to pick up her race number because she already has registered.
- 7:59 a.m.-The singing of the national anthem begins.
- 8:00 a.m.-The first wave goes off.
- 8:03 a.m.-We enter the expo and I’m actually able to register AFTER the race has started.
- 8:06 a.m.-We are out of the expo and heading up Saginaw Street PAST the starting line to try and get in a corral.
- 8:07 a.m.-We cross the start line.
The corral we ended up starting in was “E.” Christy had been assigned to corral “C” for runners who would finish in the vicinity of 1 hour and 34 minutes. Corral “E,” I suspect, had a guesstimated finish time of upwards of 2 hours.
We started off slow and caught up to the 11:00/mile pace group. What?!? Caught UP to that pace group? “Wow! These are not MY runners,” I thought both vaingloriously and judgementally to myself. But, you know…I took a look around at the group and had to smile. These runners, likely many of whom were first-time racers or first-time Crim runners, struck me as the type of runners whose “heart” was in the race the way mine was 20 years ago—they looked happy and were chatting with their friends. They didn’t looked stressed at mile .25 because they couldn’t get around people who were going too slow in front of them.
It’s not that I am a super fast runner, but the people I’m usually surrounded by are more experienced with a lot more miles under their soles. A more outward desire to excel, push hard, and get an excellent race time or a PR (what with the internet these days and everything being recorded digitally until the end of time). “I’m such a damn running snob,” I said to Christy.
And let me just say that while I was not pushing myself by any means, this 10-mile run was not by any means a walk in the park. It was tough. It’s always tough when you run 10 miles—no matter what your pace is.
Around mile 8.5, we passed a tall women in light blue who was encouraging her friend Jen to push on. “Come on Jen. You can do this.” Jen had stopped to walk and looked really tired. Been there. Done that.
“Come on Jen,” I said. “You can do this. Almost there. You’ve trained hard for this.”
I started to clap and Christy did too. I started to clap louder and pointed to her and said to the crowd, “First time Crim runner here. Jen is running the Crim.” And people cheered and clapped and I clapped louder and turned to Christy and said, “That’s what it’s all about.”
And that REALLY is what it’s all about. It’s not about the race times—because race times, like beauty and glory fade away. But memories, memories of people loving and supporting you while you struggle to finish and memories of some of the best friends you’ve ever made and ever will make while running—that’s what it’s all about.
I know Jen stopped at least one more time because I heard her friend encourage her run again. Those last few miles are tough.
Christy says it helps her when she is struggling in a race to dedicate miles to people—people who have their own struggles, but running a race isn’t one of them, or people who have loved and honored us and it is our turn to love and honor them. And it is in that vein that I dedicate my running of the Crim to Jen. Because this first-time Crime runner helped me take the glory out of being vain, and remember why it is that I actually LOVE to run.
Carry on, friends. Carry on.
P.S. In honor of Jen and for the purposes of full disclosure, here are my DOCUMENTED Crim race times:
- Kristi Gilbert 1999 age 31 1:31:34 9:09 pace
- Kristi Gilbert 2012 age 44 1:36:35 9:39 pace
- Tina Bernardin 2013 age 45 1:41:36 10:09 pace