I did the Longmont Turkey Trot this morning—my second 10K as a real wheelchair racer.
My husband and I both signed up, but he did something bad to his calf, so he got to be (as a friend put it) my “shit carrier”. We went to get our packets, and were asked what T-shirt sizes we had requested. He said, “Large for her, medium for me.” Everyone stared at him, and we all decided that maybe I should have a medium, too (as in, have we not noticed that I’ve lost 30 pounds this year alone?).
My buddy Denny and his wife and son turned up pretty soon. Denny and I comprised the entire wheelchair division. I took off my warm cozy Uggs and my warm cozy Paralympic Sport hoody (it was a brisk 28°F), and we went for a warmup spin around the parking lot. Denny talked the starter into giving us a 1 minute lead. So here we are, in front of a gazillion eager racers, and the starter hollers through the loudspeaker, “I’m going to start the wheelchairs first. When they start, do not run!” He holds up one finger, then lowers his hand. Denny and I look at each other. “Was that it?” I holler. He nods, so we take off. Denny does better starts than I do, so he’s ahead. When we run out of spectators, I yell, “You can stop showing off now!” and pass him.
It was a good course—pretty flat. I had no idea how far Denny was behind me, so I just assumed he was close and kept going. I was shocked when I got to the finish line and saw the clock: 41:18 (which really means 42:18, with our 1 minute lead), six minutes faster than my Bolder Boulder time!
I still haven’t figured out what to do about water. Wheelchair racers wear gloves that put your hands in a fist, so you can’t grab your water bottle and chug. I zip-tied a small Camelback to my chair, but the tube wasn’t long enough to reach without hands. Denny gave me a couple of water station tips, and I tried a couple of different strategies:
- At the first station, I said, “Pour some in my mouth!” That sort of worked—I got some water in me.
- At the second, I tried Denny’s suggestion—unstrapped one thumb, tried to grab a cup. Five times.
- At the third, I tried sort of clutching a cup between both fists.
Denny suggested I ask the water handing person to run with me a little. That might work, and I’ll try it next time. Or I’ll get a longer Camelback tube.
The food after the event was terrific! Hamburgers and chicken sandwiches from Outback Steakhouse.
The awards at this event are great, too—a turkey for first place, a pie for second place, a loaf of bread for third. We sat through all the age groups, hoping there would be wheelchair awards. Around “Male, 40-44”, I turned around and said, “Maybe I placed in my age group!” We all agreed that was likely. We waited for “Female, 50-54”, and clapped for the three women called up (all of them around 46 minutes). “Oh, well,” we said.
When all the awards had been given out, we went up and asked if there were any leftover pies, and the guy gave me one.So it’s all good:
- I got a PR (personal record)
- I didn’t finish last (first time ever!)
- I beat Denny! (sorry, Denny)
- There’s a pie in my fridge