In the Team Possum running world, the person who finishes last is seen as the most courageous. After all, it is the person who finishes last who has run for the longest amount of time. At the end of a Possum race, the DFL (Dead F*ing Last) person gets a ridiculously large trophy. I hoped today might be my opportunity.
I signed up to run the Spooky Dam 10K about 12 hours before race time, not particularly trained for a race. On Monday I saw my doctor and complained about weight gain. He said I should run more. So after my appointment I did as the doctor ordered, went for a run, fell, and injured my rib. I took the rest of the week off running and in the first mile of the race could definitely feel it.
The race is an out-and-back course on the walking trail that parallels the shore of Buckeye Lake. It was a typical late October, Ohio day: gray, cool, and drizzly. Yet, it is a picturesque community with cute lakefront houses. Residents came out in costume and cheered as we ran by.
At the 5K turn around point, the singer Shawna Croder ran up next to me and turned around with the overwhelming majority of the runners. The first quarter of the race featured a nice crowd; the last three quarters was pretty sparse.
After turning around at the 10K point, I initially thought only one person was behind me and this was my chance to finally get the illusive DFL. A few minutes later I saw an older gentleman still headed toward the turnaround point who was walking. I knew I couldn’t get the DFL with integrity. Always a bridesmaid, never a DFL.
However, on the return journey I ran with a guy named Brad. Brad was running his first ever 10K and I shared with him the Possum adage that “if you get to the finish line and haven’t made a new friend, you are doing it wrong.” He said, “well, I guess I’ll be your friend.”
In the last half mile I let Brad go ahead and crossed the finish line listening to the Dead Kennedy’s song, Halloween.
Probably the slowest 10K I’ve ever run and the closest I ever came to DFL. The only person slower than me was a man walking. However, considering it was 10 months since bouncing off a car and five days after falling on a rib, I am glad for the ability to finish.