I did the Chocolate Rush 5K on Saturday, and you might infer from the photo that I was not alone. Libby and I did it together as a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. We didn’t run the 5K but walked it together, and Libby was pleased that she was able to finish the 3.1 miles since her daily walks with the dogs are generally no more than two miles.
The run benefited the Salvation Army, and the specific goal was to raise enuf money to buy playground equipment for a certain school. The course was on a hike/bike path that happens to go through my neighborhood in faraway suburbia, though the 5K route did not go in that direction. (The half marathon route that they also held that morning did go that route, and I asked some friends who were running it to please stop by my house and check on Flike and Queequeg.)
Because we were walking, with no desire to go for time but merely to finish, we started near the back of the pack. Pretty soon we were the back of the pack, but we kept a steady pace — better than an average walking pace of three miles per hour — and few times Libby felt confident to run several hundred feet. Soon we were passing groups of walkers. I run this route fairly regularly, so I knew the trail, and I knew when a certain monster hill was coming. I told Libby that I would run to the top of it and wait for her there. (I need to do some serious hill training to prepare for a half marathon I’m running in October. I’m really scared of that one!) It was 30 degrees when we started out that morning and when I got to the top of the hill, I found ice on the paved trail up there. There was more ice on the downhill side. Fortunately, it was obvious and everyone was cautioning everyone else about it. Libby met me at the top of the monster hill, pleased with herself for making it without stopping. (I ran up this hill on the way back, too.)
The 5K route was an out and back, and about the time we were a quarter of the way, some of the runners were already on their way back. Of course everyone made way for them, but that became the norm for the rest of our walk. And once all of the 5K runners had bolted past us, the half marathon runners came dashing by, passing us from behind. (The half marathon route took off in the opposite direction, got to a turnaround point — in my neighborhood — came back to the start, then finished their 13.1 miles by running the 5K route.) There were some serious runners leading this pack.
Libby and I made it to the finish line in respectable time. She was very pleased with her pace. We hung around there to cheer the passing half marathon runners and to wait for some of the finishers. The winner of the half marathon was a 26-year-old youngster, and the fastest woman in the race was only 16. These people are living their lives.
The chocolate theme was related to Valentine’s Day, and at the after party there was a chocolate fountain with all kinds of goodies that could be dipped in it. (I ate perhaps too many Oreo mint cookies.) We also got long-sleeved “technical” tee shirts, which are spun from air they’re so light. These are great for running because they wick the sweat away from your skin and keep you cool.
Because I was walking, I wasn’t trying to set a good pace. I can say, however, that I successfully defended my position as slowest in my age group! And Libby has already asked me to find another 5K we can do.