In the homestretch, Mile 11, I see the fairgrounds and chomp my last glob of melted chocolate to the mantra, "Finish strong!"
However, I'm crumbling. I don't realize it until a friend rides by on her bike. Taking a day off racing, she cheers runners on. "Get your head up!" she commands.
I snap my head upward, elevating my chest, improving my breathing.
Entering the fairgrounds, I manage a last push. Hard work.
Ahead, "Body by Ed." When did she pass me?
She's stronger; no catching her.
I see something else. A pacer holding her card.