Gone fishing? To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fisherman. To be a little more precise, I’ve never owned a fishing pole and I’ve never caught a fish, so when I announced after this past Saturday’s race that I’ve “Gone Fishing” and wouldn’t be doing any more commentaries on the races I’ve run, I should have known it wouldn’t last. I’m sure most of the readers of this blog would rise up with a resounding “Who cares?”, and rightly so. One less blog to keep up with would simplify life for most people, including me. But it’s my blog, and the compulsive side of me just won’t let well enough alone, so when I looked at that big empty spot where I should have been running my mouth, I knew the only proper thing would be to cut the fishing trip short and fill in the blanks, lest I actually caught a fish and wouldn’t know what to do with it.
I mentioned in my swan song that I had already covered just about everything imaginable in the first twenty races I ran. Here I am at race #82 and, no doubt, I’ve started repeating myself. Then again, maybe somebody’s just getting here and hasn’t heard it all before or they want to know what happened in this particular race.
Whether it’s a 5k or a marathon or anything in between, each race is somewhat of a different experience in its own way. Yes, there are certain common elements:
“If I had moved my feet faster I would have finished sooner.”
“There was this guy about 20 feet ahead who I couldn’t quite catch up with.”
“I’d slow down going uphill, but then I would speed up going downhill.”
“I ate a banana after the race.”
“I’m bummed that the age group awards were _________________ instead of trophies. (Fill in the blank — it’s different but disappointing in almost every race.)
Early in the week Bill Weimer had asked on Facebook if anybody was running the Come-See-Me 5k in Rock Hill, and I hadn’t heard about it. There were several races around and I hadn’t really decided on anything in particular. Dianne Allen, who knows the local races just about better than anybody, said it’s a race that she really enjoys so we decided to head out for Rock Hill on Saturday morning. Turns out it was a good decision. It was an enjoyable race with about 400 runners, good food afterwards, and I got first place in my age group (always a plus).
Just before the race Dianne introduced us to a friend of hers named Ed who works with her in Charlotte. After we talked to him a few minutes he mentioned he lived in Gastonia, which is where Linda and I live, of course, so I was excited to meet another runner from Gastonia (it’s not exactly a hotbed of running activity). Ed told us where he lived and we mentioned that we used to live in that same general area in a house that was demolished several years ago. Linda and I had lived there for the first three years of our marriage (1980-83) and our son David was born while we lived there. It was a place of special memories for us and one of only three houses we’ve lived in since we were married 31 years ago. We came to find out that after we moved out of the house, Ed and his family moved into that same house! Wow… talk about a small world! We then figured out that we both do a lot of our runs each week at Martha Rivers Park in Gastonia, and we’re planning on meeting up there and running together soon. Ed emailed me the next day and said that when he got home he told his wife about meeting us, and she actually remembered meeting us at the church both of our families attended at the same time back in 1985 — 25 years ago! Weird-O-Rama!
Anyhoo, I guess I really should talk a little bit about the race. It was pretty flat and pretty fast, as advertised, and scenic as well. Another of our Charlotte running friends who showed up was Steve Staley, President of the Charlotte Road Runners Club, veteran of over 1000 races, and lately my main competition since he just turned 55 a few months ago and entered the 55-59 age group. Last year at China Grove Steve beat me at the finish line while pushing a stroller, so he’s definitely a fast guy. Since he’s turned 55 I think he’s beat me a couple times and I’ve beat him a couple times, but it always makes it a little more interesting to have somebody pretty close to you in a race who you know is in the same age group. Makes things a little more exciting! The one Steve and I really have to look out for is Steve’s 10-year-old son, Drew, who of course isn’t in our age group but at 10 years old is just about to pass us both up, consistently running sub-22-minute 5k’s. He’s definitely somebody to keep an eye out for, no matter what your age group. It won’t be long — probably a year or two at the ripe old age of 11 or 12 (or maybe 13) — that Drew will be way ahead of us and challenging the overall fastest runners.
4 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
4 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
4 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 83
Age Group: 1 of 12
Overall: 23 of 355 (6.5%)