41. LifePoint Gift of Life Run, 2009

Good Morning for a Race

Never done this one before, but it’s the last 5K I had access to before the big move to Vermont. I couldn’t pass it up. This event promotes organ donation, and even had some people speaking about it at the award ceremony. A donor’s mother and a recipient, to be specific. It was kind of cool. Here’s a link to the event’s official site.

I had plans to interview a few friends after the race for a podcast on the sport of running, but of course I hit a snag. I always seem to hit a snag… more on that later.

Before the Race

He's all heart.
Heart: ‘You gotta love me. Seriously, it’s the law or something.’

This was a small event, and it was held in James Island Park. The weather was warm for the first time in a good while, so the day promised to be comfortable. Well, sort of…

The first thing I did was look around for my friends. I had plans to interview a few people for a podcast that I’m thinking of putting together. Everyone was there, and I was confident that I could almost finish the whole thing that day. Seriously, I had the little voice recorder and everything… but more on that later.

Emotional Kidney
Kidney: ‘Oh, how I love to pee!’

Sometimes these events have costumes. The first photo is a heart, and the woman below is a kidney. Of course, most of us got them mixed up. I just assumed that the woman was dressed as a heart until I spotted the other guy. I guess I didn’t really look.

She was willing to strike a romantic pose for me, although she didn’t clue me in that she was a kidney. The result is an ironic photo, and the satisfaction of meeting people who are willing to play along with this kind of thing.

In addition, the usual rogues gallery was at the race. The forces of Irony were hard at work, allowing me to build up bunches of positive relationships and make loads of friends just before I move to another part of the country.

Lining Up at the Starting Line

Whenever I do one of these events, I look around for people I know. As I became more of a fixture, people started looking for me, too. As I made my way into the crowd at the Starting Line, someone started calling my name. I looked around to the left, to the right… nothing. Whoever she was, she kept calling. Suddenly I heard the mystery woman say “LOOK DOWN!”

Brian and Jennifer

I did as I was told and I swear to God, there was Jennifer Smock maybe four meters in front of me. (She’s very short.) I had been looking at my own head-height, and missed her several times as my eyes passed over the crowd. It was like something out of a movie.

When the organizers announced that they were ready to start, I tucked my key into the ass-pocket of my shorts and fell in. If you’re not familiar with the ass-pocket, it’s probably because I made up that name. It’s what I call the little built-in pocket that running shorts tend to have.

You’re supposed to put your key in there, but some people like to put money in there too. That way, they can pay for a latte with a scummy, sticky, wet twenty-dollar bill. For this event, however, it was just going to hold my key. (That’s foreshadowing, by the way.)

The Race Itself

A lady sang the Star Spangled Banner and we were soon released. The course was pretty. I wish I had spent more time in this park. As usual, my backup camera was a bit tough to work with at times. (Ritz is taking forever with that repair on the good camera.)

I finished in 23 minutes flat, which is pretty good considering that I had a camera with me. When I carry the camera I tend to focus more on getting good images than on running my best race. I lose a few seconds that way, but sometimes the resulting photos make it worth the trouble.

Bug Wars

Bugs Everywhere!

This is Theresa. You may wonder why she has adopted the posture you see at left. No, I didn’t flash her. She’s reacting to the bugs. Oh, did I forget to mention that? there were bugs everywhere. Everywhere. Seriously, they were like a cloud of evil, gray snowflakes. The kind of snowflakes that leave welts and make children cry. People who were smart enough to bring bug repellant were extremely popular and made many, many friends. Some were even canonized by the rest of us.

As I write this, I find that I’m stopping occasionally to scratch my arm. Or my other arm. Or maybe one of my legs. I look like I’m wearing polka-dot skin right now. At least I found another person who doesn’t mind doing silly poses for a stranger.

The Awards Ceremony

I stuck around for the awards this time, and I found out why my older friends always seem to do so. It’s because they tend to win medals in their age groups.

I didn’t place this time, but really I didn’t expect to. I just wanted to enjoy the race and take pictures. I didn’t leave empty-handed, though. At the end they started handing out free swag to random race numbers. I got one of those little backpacks with the ropes which serve double-duty as straps and draw-string. It was filled with various weird free crap, including a license place cover which my new buddy Theresa did not hesitate to mock.

The Key to the Mystery

I Got A Spare Key! Yay
I Got A Spare Key! Yay

Okay, here’s the good stuff, right at the end. Remember the ass- pocket that my car key was in? Well, my key flew out. It happened…. somewhere in the woods. Good times.

Joanie Found Her Key! Yay!
Joanie Found Her Key! Yay!

I was on the way to my car to get my voice recorder when I realized that it was missing. I checked the ass-pocket. I checked the lining of my running shorts. Hell, I even checked my ass. The thing was gone.

Donna Never Lost Her Key! Yay!
Donna Never Lost Her Key! Yay!

I looked around a bit, but I didn’t really have any confidence on the matter of finding it. John Kimbler bicycled around the course to look for it, but found nothing. Various friends helped me wander around for it while telling me their own lost-key stories, but with no luck. I was reminded again of how good the people are around here. Since I didn’t think I would find the key, I decided to go for my spare at the house.

John was nice enough to lend me his cell phone so I could call for help. My brother was the only person with access to the spare, but there was a problem. I don’t know his number. In today’s Age of the Cell Phone, I just press the button with his name on it and he shows up by magic. I actually had to call my mother and ask her to look on her own cell phone to get the information I needed.

My brother was almost to his job in West Ashley when I called. He drove back to Summerville for the key and brought it to me on James Island. While I waited for him, I watched the award ceremony, made a few friends, collected my new Free Bag of Stuff, and donated a goodly portion of my life-blood to keep bugs of James Island alive and happy. Oh, and guess what? I found out that Joanie had lost her key too! Crap!

Final Thoughts

In the end, my spare was delivered and Joanie found her key. All was well and I had made a new friend in Theresa. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad day. Today, on the other hand, is accented by a starfield pattern of bug bites. Today kind of sucks.