Chalk up another new experience for me! Woohoo!
My neighbor invited me to join her in this fiendish endeavor this weekend. I politely declined the 10K. It's not that I cannot do a 10K, it's that I don't want to do a 10K. At least that's how I felt about it when she asked me. But a 5K? Sure. That's just 3.1 miles. I walk that on the regular. No big deal. I can do that. And since I've never done an official any sort of K, I was looking forward to the novelty of it all.
I wasn't officially signed up. So I didn't have the numbers pinned to my shirt, or the snazzy hat and/or tee shirt. And since I didn't pay a signup fee, I didn't feel right about helping myself to any of the bagels or bananas or water bottles that were provided. I did however enjoy the music, the pageantry and the people watching, which, by the way, was primo. The race people, incidentally, were absolutely fine with me being there. I wasn't the only unofficial participant. They made sure that I understood that I couldn't run through the official finish line, or get the shirt or hat or the numbers. I was fine with all of the above.
There were so many people there! All in the same place, at the same time. Everyone from babies to old ladies. A company of "young marines" were there, a lot of what I would guess were high school kids, a surprising number of small primary school age kids, but then they always have loads of energy. There were people there with their dogs (on leashes), one toddler (also on a leash) one guy in a shark costume (!), quite a few ladies in sparkly attire, an astonishing number of people wearing shark fin headbands and everyone else.
We stood there, all gobbed up at the yellow-flagged starting line waiting for the official "go". we were a massive chunk of humanity all clustered into one relatively small and very specific area which was kind of funny since the beginning (and ending) of the race was on a fair grounds that borders the Venice airport. Nothing but space there. I mean I understand why, but it was still amusing to me.
'Bang" and we were off! Loads of people were running this 5K. I was not any of them. I used to run. I used to love running in fact. But my running days are long behind me. Oh once in awhile I get a wild hair and break into a gentle jog. But my knees and I both usually regret it in short order. So I knew I would be walking this race. I wasn't alone. The small group that I was a part of were all walking.
And we were all being passed in short order by so many people! At first just the hard core runners. Then by the joggers. Then the fastwalkers, which is where my groups split up. Two of our little group of 4 were fastwalkers. Which left the remaining two of us walking at, lets just say, a more leisurely pace. And that was fine with us.
The beginning of the race, as I already said, was the Venice Fairgrounds which are actually on the Venice Airport grounds, just way down on one end on old unused runways. This made for some interesting things to see as we watched planes take-off and land. The next part of the walk was along the Intercoastal Waterway. It was such a pretty place to walk. Water, greenery, boats, birds, what's not to like? Eventually the track to us back onto the fairgrounds and across the finish line. Well I crossed beside the finish line coz you know...unofficial walker. But I could still see the timer readout. And while we weren't the caboose, we were definitely those cars toward the end of the train and I can live with that.
It was still fun. It was very well organized. There were race people posted in various spots along the course offering cups of water, telling us how far we'd come and saying very encouraging things to keep us going. Everyone was so incredibly nice and upbeat and enthusiastic! Appleby's was there at the end cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers for anyone who wanted (I did not) giving out medals to the official participants who completed the course (the medals were a hoot - they looked like shark fins!) taking photographs and again cheering for everyone who finished.
We declined the food and went on to our various homes where I immediately showered. Worked up a bit of a sweat out there which is always a good thing. Tim then rewarded me by taking me out to breakfast at my favourite donut place.,..Yummies! And bonus points, It's paczki season! Woohoo!
Some people carbo-load before a race. I choose to do so afterwards. Sooooo Gooooood!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! And next time, I will make sure to sign up ahead of time so that I can be official. I think that shark's tooth medallion award would look really good on me.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.