Race #100 didn’t really feel a lot different than the first 99 except for the fact that I rolled out of bed a little more slowly after the clock went off at 4 a.m. I turned off the clock and didn’t feel the urgency of getting that hundredth race in before my self-imposed deadline of Labor Day Weekend, which will be my second anniversary as a runner. I turned over to just “rest my eyes” for another minute or two, or fifty-five as the case may be.
When I woke up again the clock read 4:55, and I thought about it for a minute, then decided there’s still time to make the race. The choice was between the Greekfest 5k in Charlotte and the HCA Knights 5k in Hickory. We decided on Hickory since it’s smaller (375 finishers today as opposed to 900 in Charlotte) and Hickory is the town where I grew up and the place I still consider my home town even though I’ve been gone for 30 years.
It’s still always fun for me to race in Hickory so I can keep an eye out for people I used to know. Not that I’ve ever seen one person from way back when at a race unless it was somebody I’m still in touch with and knew they were going to be there anyway, but it’s still fun to run through those same streets I knew so well when I was young.
I had heard in advance that this race was “flat and fast” and by Hickory standards it was. There were no big hills to contend with but it wasn’t exactly flat. It was a double out-and-back so the slight uphills were eventually rewarded with slight downhills, and there was a nice downhill finish.
The T-shirts were nice orange tech shirts but they only had 350 shirts and gave out the last one about 5 minutes before we got there. No problem though since they deducted 5 bucks from the registration fee.
The food was really great — lots of homemade pastries in addition to plenty of fruit including watermelon and the standard stuff like oranges and bananas.
The age group awards were unique: homemade hand-painted pottery medals. Linda and I both came away with one — Linda with 1st place in her age group and me with 2nd place.
As far as this being my 100th race in two years, I’m pretty proud of that. I’ve been fortunate to have stayed healthy over 3,000+ miles of running, with only one minor injury just a few weeks ago that caused me to miss races for a couple of weeks, but I’m getting back to normal and hopefully I’m a little wiser as well.
Much more impressive than me running my 100th race is the fact that my wife Linda today ran her 87th race. We had been married for almost 30 years when she began running at the age of 56, and I don’t remember ever seeing her run at all in those first 30 years of marriage. She’s sat out of a few races that I’ve run, and she’s battled shin splints and some major bunions, but she’s done an amazing job of becoming a runner. Her first place age group finish today was one-tenth of a second faster than second place, similar to my finish in last week’s race.
Race Rating: 5 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.) 7 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10) 9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10) 9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10) 7 – 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) 6 – 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) 9 – 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 2 – 0-10 Other (No professional photography but lots of Facebook photos of race)