Or they at least like me enough not to call me out for being in an age group that, we'll say, is busy - too busy to run in a lot of points races.
On Sunday, the Fort Wayne Track Club held it's annual banquet and my participation (and placement) in three races last year earned me first place in my age group for the points race series during the ceremonies. There are more than a dozen races in the series and there were 18 members who managed to complete them all. Some of the age groups had winners with 1,400 points. (For reference, I had 230). But I got the plaque all the same.
And the cake.
In addition to the awards, there was also a half marathon clinic, delicious dinner - I opted for beef and, yes, I ate the rich chocolate piece of heaven - and a keynote speaker in 1972 Olympic Gold Medal winner Dave Wottle.
Watch it. It's seriously amazing.
Wottle interwove stories of that day into what turned out to be an engaging, inspiring speech (sshh: it was much better than Shalane's talk last year). He said there were three things that were key to his Olympic success.
Concentration. Confidence. Competitive spirit.
Concentration. Wottle said that during the 1 minute, 45 seconds he was running, he was focused on nothing else but the finish line. He didn't see the crowds. He didn't hear their roars. Not only that but in training, he concentrated on that goal of an Olympic medal. Often times as he ran through Bowling Green, he would visualize the race. And he wasn't winning. He was coming from behind and teaching himself how to maneuver in situations that might fluster other athletes.
Confidence. It was those visualizations helped give him the confidence that he needed to win. A runner who was 20 meters behind in the first 200 meters of an 800-meter event might have worried himself out of the race but Wottle said his training scenarios showed him that he could come from behind and finish ahead.
Competitive spirit. Yeah, this pretty much doesn't need explanation. Mostly because I was too busy listening and a whole lot not busy taking notes on my iPhone. But let's just say he said you needed a competitor's spirit - not just to beat someone but to better yourself. Sound good?
Of all the things he said, what stuck with me most was what he said about his pre-race ritual. Yes, there was the golf cap and the silence but there was also a prayer. Though I'm not a particularly spiritual person, his words to God really spoke to me.
Allow me to try my best, do my best and accept whatever outcome.
Words to run by. Words to live by.