This event was a bit impulsive on my part. When I was at the July 4th Cross-Country 5K Run this year, several people mentioned this series of races. Since the folks at The Extra Mile organized both events, it was easy to get information. There are four races in the series, occurring every other Thursday and winding five kilometers through Daniel Island, SC. It starts and ends at Bishop England High school, with a commencement time of 6:30pm. Individual races are $20, but you can do the whole series for $45. (No refunds if you miss one, of course.)
Oh, why not? I enjoy a good 5K race and many of my racing buddies would be there. I knew that I would see Joanie, and maybe even Donna. I walked down to The Extra Mile after work and happily registered.
Before the Race
As I approached Daniel Island, I grew a little worried about the weather. There was a lot of cloud cover. On the one hand, I like the rain because it keeps me cool. That’s especially handy during a wicked-hot South Carolina Summer. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of running next to trees, street lights and other near-to-the-sky objects during a serious South Carolina Thunderstorm.
Upon arrival I saw that several of my friends were there as expected. I said hello to Joanie and met a few new people. As I happily joined the conversation and traded running stories, I found once again that I the youngest in the group by a couple of decades, and that all of them had run multiple marathons. Hope for the future, eh? Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder about that. There are younger people around, but I feel more comfortable with the older folks. I guess it would be different if there were more thirty-somethings wandering around, but still… sometimes I wonder what it all means.
An Unlucky Number… Or Is It?
Yep. I got number 13. You’ll notice that all of the photos in this article were taken before the race. This is of course because I didn’t want to get my camera soaked. I made a few jokes about the rain being my fault, and when we saw lightning I suggested that none of us run next to that tall guy over there. (Whether the tall guy I pointed at appreciated my sense of humor is debatable.) I figured that I was going to do pretty well since I had the rain to cool me down and I lacked the distraction of my camera. As it turned out, I was right.
A New Personal Record!
As I had suspected, I ran a bit faster this time. We had some grass to run over near the high school, but once we got onto the street we could run at a good clip without much fear of slipping. Through the rain we went, around corners and in loops. As we approached the half-way point we could see the fastest among us already doubling back. This was a small race, so there weren’t many of them. It felt good. There was an energy in the air, not only from the storm but from all of us. Something about the rain is liberating. Well… okay, not at first. The first minute or so I’m uncomfortable about being wet, but once I’m soaked I just don’t mind anymore.
I’ve checked my time on the website to be sure, and it’s official. I’ve broken twenty-three minutes! My new Personal Best Time as of this writing is 22:51. I had no idea that I would do so well when I signed up. I didn’t even plan on setting a Personal Record since I hadn’t been training as much as I normally do. Between the two jobs and the heat it’s been tough to keep a schedule. But in spite of it all, there it is: a new Personal Record. It’s a pretty good evening run for a guy who opened a Starbucks at 5:30am that morning. Just three more races to go.