This was a first-time race for me, despite it being in my own backyard. I’d been wrestling with running it, largely because I believed it didn’t have medals at the end, and I like getting “paid” for my runs. 🙂
I signed up during this last week, and got up early this morning to make the short drive to the race course. After yesterday’s amazing run, I really was gunning for big things.
The weather was supposed to be amazing — rain and low 60s — and I was really looking forward to that. As Mother Nature does sometimes, she took a left turn, and I ended up with low 70s, no rain, and a crazy humid airmass with occasional fog. Blecch!
I got to the race course, and talked with the packet pickup folks. Last year, this race had about 300 entrants; this year, only about 100 for the 5k. I got kinda excited, thinking that maybe I could end of up with an age award. Three deep across each decade of ages… yeah, that would help push me higher in my age group, and maybe the math would favor me with a top-three age group placement.
I was about to find out that math today and a great run yesterday wouldn’t ensure a medal for me!
The race started on time, and I trudged along a trail in Bluebird Park that seemed to wind downhill forever. And much like the sidewalks yesterday, the trail was slick as snot. Where I shoulda carried some speed downhill, the slipperiness kept me reserved, taking careful steps as I climbed downward.
I’d never run this course before, and it was nice to see a part of my town that I’d never seen before. I passed through neighborhoods, with the occasional driveway of folks cheering us on. It was clear that I was losing the biggest part of the pack, and that I was well on my way to being dead last in the race. I don’t race to come out on top, I race to challenge me, so that was ok.
Lumbering through the neighborhoods, I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of the golf cart that was trailing the last runners in the race… and I wasn’t all that far ahead of them. With about a kilometer to go, I reentered Bluebird Park, and started climbing up all the hills I’d carefully descended at the beginning of the race.
I came up the last big hill, and turned left into the staging area for the race. Folks cheered as I came through the finisher’s arch, which was cool. Perhaps they were afraid that I was really ol’ St. Nick, and they wanted to stay on the good side of the Big Man. Regardless of the reason, I enjoyed a few seconds of cheering, and ambled over to the ice cold water bottles to start cooling down.
This was a fun little race, but much more hilly than I’d expected. And, I wish it’d had a finisher medal. But, it was close, early, and done, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
This race benefitted Special Operations Warrior Foundation.