I don't remember which shoes I wore. I had a piece of toast at 6 am. I ran over to the park, paid my $12, pinned my number on and went out for a bit more warming up. Today would be an informative fitness test.
I nearly ditched the race, but couldn't think of a good enough excuse for breaking a streak of 8 years in a row. Low tech in the extreme, with manual timing including stickers, bib stubs, and coat hangers to keep the finishing order straight, this little race brings the community together.
Pow. The mayor fired the starting pistol. Off we run, with lots of 10 year olds sprinting from the start, tripping over their feet while they gasp and wheeze. After three quick right turns we start into a steady climb. I didn't go out very fast, and I've no fitness to do anything besides keep pace. I see Laura Gardner right ahead of me, and just like last year, I never catch her; never come close.
At one mile, there is usually a guy standing there yelling out splits. I guess he overslept. I don't have a watch, so I'm completely running by feel. After another short rise, the course dips down for a while, and finishes flat. At 1.5 miles, I feel good. That nearly forgotten feeling of running pretty hard, and not dying, but actually feeling good, even slightly euphoric. So despite my hot feet, dry mouth, and nearly irresistible yearning to run through the sprinklers, I stay on course and keep running.
With a mile to go, I catch one of my nephews. "Keep going, Brandon." With .5 miles to go, I catch his big brother. "Is that you, Justin?" "Go catch those red shirt guys. Go! Go!" I follow him in. We both pick it up a bit; I see no reason to try to beat him. Finish line. Ahhh. 21:25. 7 minute pace. I didn't know I had it in me, still. Those are the first 7 minute miles I've run in a year.
Pass out 200+ bottles of water to the other finishers, then walk home to shower and zoom over to the parade start. We ran out of candy to throw, and found another 5 gallon bucket of fruities when we got home. Oops. Just before we left, Brandon stoppped by with a $10 gift card to papa murphys and a red 2nd place ribbon for the old man. Cool. That brought the race cost down to $2.