The morning of the Big Red Race was cold. Raw cold. Bone chilling. The kind of cold that gets in your skin and works its way to every part of you. I think the actual temperature was in the upper-40s -- which is good running weather -- but it was raining. The rain meant we got wet on our 1 1/2 mile stroll to the start line. On top of that, I left my running watch at home so I ran "naked."
I call it the Peer Pressure Race because my friend Lisa texted me an hour before the race to see if I was still on. I had already paid for the race (only $20, and all proceeds going to the summer programs the school runs for local children), she had not. I said I'd do it if she was doing it. Then I said let's go outside and see how we feel. That's all the encouragement Lisa needed to do it.
We walked down to the start line (down as in, downhill). It was so quiet we saw three deer run across the street in front of us. The rain had paused, but because of the rainy day, it was a completely different set up. Normally kids races are happening outside and there are lots of people around. This time it was eerily quiet. Everything (except the actual 5K race) was moved to the building with the indoor track.
I went to one side of the building to pick up my bib -- #147. Lisa went to the other side of the building since she also had to pay. We put our tickets in for the raffle (neither one of us won). Finally we ventured back outside. It wasn't raining at this point.
As I said earlier, I left my watch at home which tells me my intervals. Lisa, though she swears she is not a runner, is at least a minute per mile faster than me. I kept pace with her for at least a mile, then did some random intervals. Unfortunately there were no mile markers this year (washed out in the rain?) but the course was the same as usual, so I had a sense of distances.
I was keeping pace with this trio of Lawrenceville students who were singing the soundtrack to Hamilton for all of our benefit. Yes, SINGING while running. I could barely talk long enough to thank them. I tried to change the words to non-stop to say "why do you RUN like you're running out of time, " but they were purists. Another year when I did the race, a group of girls skipped the entire time. I suspect they were different girls since that was a few years ago.
In the end, I finished 34:46 -- 12 seconds faster than in 2013, though since it wasn't a chip start, I can safely subtract a few more seconds. Had I kept up with Lisa, my time would have been in the 31 minute range, but I probably would have also puked or at least passed out. I know who I am, and I am not a 10 minute miler (nor do I wish to do what it would take to get there). I was 12th in my age group. However, there were only 371 runners this year. Other years the number has been closer to 600.
Lisa looks fabulous. I need lessons in how to take a good selfie with a digital camera.
One of the neat things about the race is that I left without any extra stuff. I turned down the t-shirt (I'd never wear it) and reusable bag (I have enough) and they even wanted the bib and pins back at the finish. Plus the money went to charity. Not a bad deal.
Then came time for the 1 1/2 mile walk uphill and home again. That was probably the toughest part because we went inside after the race to check the stats and warmed up.
It was fun.