Photography by Ted W. Photography Studios
I ran a 5k race this morning.
Besides being the race’s only participant, I was the race organizer, official timer, rooting section and post-race activities manager.
The race was Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k, a virtual race, designed to get lazy writers off their butts and generate worldwide blogging camaraderie (or something like that). The only requirement was participation. In it, I found the perfect excuse to push myself on what might otherwise be a leisurely Saturday morning run.
As race organizer, I chose a route designed specifically to play to the strengths of the participant (in this case, me), so the point-to-point route was mostly downhill on the bike paths, sidewalks and paved streets of my Hampshire home with the wind at my back. The starting line was at the village’s east water tower in a mostly empty subdivision.
Temperature at race start: 52 degrees. Race start time: 11:44 a.m.
I began with the wild cheers of the crowd (a group of parents at a nearby little league game quite possibly applauding an outfield catch) and Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town” (the race organizer determined use of earphones was permissible in this race).
With a little Freddie Mercury, Lady Gaga and Natasha Bedingfield, I ran a pretty consistent 6.5 mph and was on track for a personal record. The race course, however, took me by a second village water tower (also on high ground), and that hill slowed me down despite the inspiration provided by Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down.”
In other races, I challenge myself to pass the runner ahead of me. Without other participants, I challenged myself to pass the fire hydrant ahead of me, and I passed those like they were standing still!
Despite the unforeseen challenges, I won the race, garnered first place in the women’s division and snared No. 1 honors in my age group with a 28:42 race time, 1:11 shy of my best 5K time.
For the victory lap, I refueled post-race with a hot dog on a slice of whole wheat bread (the post-race activities manager apparently forgot to buy hot dog buns), topped with last night’s cole slaw, mild Italian giardiniera and course-ground Grey Poupon mustard. Success tasted scrumptious.
There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.
~ George Sheehan