Imagine his dismay when he discovered that this year’s shirt has a picture of his mother crossing the falls in the 2011 race.
You can’t see my face, so it’s possible none of his friends would even notice. But it remains to be seen whether he ever gets around to wearing his shirt.
That was the first surprise of the day. The second was discovering that the race had been lengthened a bit — and that the added section included yet another hill right off the bat.
The third surprise: Despite going out way too fast, nearly tumbling down a steep slope just before the falls and basically running out of gas before I even got out of the woods, I wound up finishing second*** in my age group.
Finally, the fourth surprise was running into the “genial, well padded” guy I met during the May 20 Fox Island Triathlon. His name is Chad Ware, and he gave me a ton of grief for my description of his physique in my News-Sentinel column. (I pointed out that I was much more well-padded not that long ago myself.)
Turns out Chad has run seven marathons, the Huff 50K and is even planning to run an inaugural 100-mile race at Chain O’Lakes State Park next spring.
He’s also the race director of the Gator Gallop, a 5K church benefit just a few miles from our house. Despite the fact that it’s the same day as the Swiss Days race, I told him I may sign up, since his is in the evening. It would be sort of fun to run two races in one day.
*I’m not allowed to reveal Ben’s time, which didn’t thrill him but wasn’t too surprising as he’s been swimming and playing baseball without running much. Needless to say, it was still quite a bit better than mine.
**The other perks: a generous post-race cookout with great camaraderie, beautiful scenery, and a portion of race proceeds go to support the preserve, which is part of the ACRES land trust.
***My time as I crossed the finish line appeared to be 34:40-something, which was even slower than last year. I‘m not sure whether this was because they lengthened the course — one runner with a GPS thought it was about 3.4 miles — or because I went out too fast and then ran out of gas on the hills, or maybe because I‘ve been slacking off in my training lately.