Apparently I have had a few visitors to this here blog since the Marine Corps Marathon almost a month ago, so here we go…
I planned to do this %k over a month ago, registered for it on Tuesday ( and even got the shirt delivered to me by a friend of one of the race organizers!), and still half-assed getting to the run.
The St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Prediction Run and 5K Race is held at Historic St. Mary’s City, 2019 being the 23rd edition. SMC is a ten-minute drive from my house, and I was even able to Uber to it last year. In fact, it is a six-miles plus run from my apartment to the race’s starting line, making it an excellent half-marathon training run.
The race kicks off at 0900. I usually arrive early because I do race-day registration, then hope there is a long-sleeve souvenir shirt in my size. Because I pre-registered and already had my shirt, I didn’t leave the house until 0830. I got to the site of Historic St. Mary’s City in time to find a parking spot, check in and get my bib, and do a perfunctory stretch.
I entered the Prediction 5K Race, where you try to guess the time you will finish the run; prizes go out to the three runners who finish closest to their guessed times. Prediction runners are not allowed to wear any sport watches that gauge a runner’s pace and distance. I did not want to cause an unnecessary controversy with the smartphone and attendant MapMyRun app, so I left the phone in the car. Also, I made a last-minute decision to take my Kodak mimi-camera, bit I couldn’t find it in a reasonable amount of time. Because there were no mile markers, I couldn’t even really take my traditional mile marker pics.
No MMR, no in-race selfies, and just the basic, bare bones stretching I do before short runs. Having run the MCM a few weeks ago, I had been pretty blasé’ about today’s run. Traditionally, the “Turkey Trot” is my finale to the running season for the calendar year. It should have been a time to reflect on the year and celebrate my fifth Marine Corps Marathon. I did think about the MCM a little bit on the first mile or so of the course. About a quarter mile from the turnaround point, I saw the trailing group of the pack of runners that were at my direct front. I had thought about trying to turn on the afterburners and seeing how many of the trailing pack I could catch.
Unfortunately, about a quarter-mile after the turnaround point, I myself was caught by a trio that was running together. As they passed me, I mused about running with a pack and in groups; I likened it to how flocks of birds collectively gain more lift and speed as they travel together. It also reminded me that I was not out here to “beat anybody” but li’l ol’ me.
Near the final approach for home i was passed by two other single runners and a young girl. AS the girl and I mounted the up-sloped straightaway for home, I decided to give her some encouragement and told her to pass me, then go after the two runners in front of us. She took the encouragement and made a good finishing kick. I made my finishing kick as well…and then the running was done.
…for the year.
I caught up with one current co-worker, and another former co-worker during the after-race festivities and snack-time. My former co-worker, Jared Byrd, introduced me to his wife and almost-teenaged son. I marveled at how long it had been since I had seen him: he’s got a teenager?
Just before I hopped in the car and went home, Jared and I shared a conversation with Manny Gaffud ( who helped me with getting my shirt early this year). Jared shared this profound thought: “If there was one thing I could do differently about my high-school running days, I would tell myself-‘you’re not running against anybody else, you’re only running against yourself’.”
My apologies, no Song of the Day today because YouTube is acting funny. I will be resuming the blog through Thanksgiving, so plenty more accompanying tunes to follow. Watch this space.
So good to be back.