I have lost count of the number of times that I have run the Santa Scramble 5k race in Concord. To me there is nothing like running along with people lining both sides of the course. When my legs are saying no more, when my lungs have reached full capacity, when my arms feel like they are tightening up, knowing these people are there keeps me pushing forward.
Saturday afternoon was overcast and windy, but fortunately, the wind was at our back for the most part. I spent a few minutes chatting with Bob Marchinko. He was giving this song and dance explanation that he was getting older, fatter, and out of shape. Let’s just say, that I listend but was pretty skeptical. However, I kept my opinions to myself.
Following my usual pattern, I ran up to the start. Since Santa Scramble is a point to point course, this helps me get in my warm up which is a plus. On the downside, I have to wear my racing stuff during my warm up.
We are mingling just before the start. I see Stan and Jinnie. I hadn't expected to see but always enjoy seeing the Fillnow twins – Kelly and Megan, along with Ashton, Larry, Steve, and Brenneman. I am not sure but I think this was his 3rd or 4th race of the day. I also saw Milton. I want to say that perhaps two years has passed since both Milton and I were at the same race. Milton is a super nice guy and always good to catch up with.
Finally, we are all lined up and then get the final countdown.
My plan was to get out as fast as possible.
Fast is relative to the person. We launch off the line and kids are passing me on both sides.
There is an ever so slight rise during the first mile. Then, the course levels out before beginning a slight decline.
I hit the mile in 5:33. My lungs were burning. My legs were saying no faster. My arms felt like they were stiff as a board.
I am picking off a few people now – one or two at a time.
Bob wasn’t that far ahead of me at the mile, but he is slowly drawing away. I keep pushing and work hard at controlling my breathing as best that I can.
I pass 2 miles and hear the guy call out 10:58. Some quick math tells me that I just ran a 5:28 second mile.
Having run this course so many times, I know what is coming.
I turn off the parade route, run about 100 yards to the next turn, and then get a nice long descent. I catch one guy and then another.
I am still pushing hard on the downhill which means I should be hurting, but I am feeling better. I surge away from the guy with me.
I cross over route 3 and climb the only real hill on the course. I am pumping my arms as quickly as I can in hopes that my legs will follow
I round the final corner, and I see clock. The display reads 16:55. I am sprinting for all that I am worth to break 17 minutes. I cross the finish line at 17:01. “Darn it”. “I missed it”.
I looked back to last year, and found that I ran 17:03. I guess I should be happy. I am one year older and two seconds to the good.
Bob ran off and left me. He finished just over 16 minutes. I knew better than believe anything he ever says about being out of shape.
Overall, I had a good day. I finished 1st in my age group and got to run on one of my favorite races of the year.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner