First, a small piece of business. After ruminating about it, I am going to write regularly (i.e., after each race and maybe in between) about my progress toward the goal of getting out of the “last banana” club. The “LBC” is what I call that anemic looking collection of snacks left for those of us who routinely finish 5K’s “toward the end.” Other hallmarks of LBC’s are: 1) you have on at least one occasion overheard the law enforcement escorts at the rear of the race radioing to their counterparts, “Yeah, I’ve got the last one here,” 2) You have ever received a “snail” award for finishing last in a race, and 3) you are well, well acquainted with the runners/walkers who begin the race ahead of the pack due to being elderly or otherwise at a “speed” handicap. I think the most important thing about running is …….. being there. But after years of bad (if any) bananas and the dregs of the water/gatorade coolers, I want out! I have a goal of completing a 5K in under 30 minutes, a goal I set for myself at the beginning of 2009. Six months into it, I have to admit I’ll need to break 40 first!
Which gets me to the St. George Island Sizzler race, held last night (June 27). Last week, when our family was vacationing at St. George, I did a practice run of the course. Choosing to do this at noon (because I had slept in) when the heat index was around 110 degrees was hardly the right choice! But the practice session did help me familiarize myself with the course. It almost helped me familiarize myself with complete strangers, who I contemplated approaching for water! It took me about an hour to do the course since I had to walk half of it in the heat, so it was pretty clear that the “real” race last night would probably not be the time I broke 40 minutes.
A different complication arose as I prepared to leave for the race, however. My son, who was scheduled to run the 1 mile, started giving signs of backing out. No one I had approached about sharing a ride over ended up being available. At around 3:00 as I was preparing to go, and trying to come to terms with my sadness about Wayne Kevin not joining me, my husband said, “gee, what if the three of us go?” I’l be clear: As long as Wayne Kevin was out of the picture, I was pretty happy about four hours in the car to myself, just me and my audiobook, but I wasn’t happy about the round trip through isolated areas, and traveling late at night fighting fatigue. So I originally said, “Gee thanks nice idea,” while I was assuming I was still flying solo. Then a variety of things kicked in — we figured out we could make arrangements for my daughter to get a ride back from the mall to our house, which eliminated one complication — and my son said to his father, “yeah, if you’re going I’ll go.” And inwardly I started getting pretty happy about finally having an opportunity to share a little of my running world with my spouse, and just to have some family-ish time spontaneously.
On the ride over, I was able to relax and stay hydrated without worrying about driving. When we arrived at SGI, my husband stationed himself at a table at Harry A’s (site of the post race party, where tables were PRIME real estate). My son ran his mile and secured his third kids Grand Prix race of the year:
I fortunately figured out the 5K was starting early and had enough time to glimpse Wayne Kevin going into Harry A’s to meet his dad, then embarked on my race. The temperature was MUCH better than it had been the previous week, the company was great (I enjoyed my midrace conversation with Katy Johnston), the family hosing us down at the 2 mile mark ROCKED, and the lady who dumped cold water down my back right before the finish was a savior (where the heck was she LAST week?!). My prediction was right: it was not the week to break 30 or even 40 (my time was around 44:30).:
If the measurement was bananas, the term “bananas” would have to be replaced for this race by yummy seafood boil, oysters, and black beans. There was plenty left even for us back of the packers. If it were the traditional post race spread, I imagine it would have been a “last” or “no” bananas race.
But there was something much more edifying to me at the end of the race: family support and a ride home.