I am talking on the phone with my sister, and I offhandedly make one of my jokes saying;
“You guys should run a 5k and then get married”
“That’s a great idea. Will you be the race director?”
This is how it all got started. My athletic sister (sport of choice: bicycling) was making plans for her marriage to her cool athletic partner, Steve (Sport of choice: also bicycling, but I wouldn’t put it past either one of them to do distance magma sprints because they are both athletically insane). I heard they had tossed around getting married at the top of a mountain after a hard bike ride, but they realized the less athletic of relatives would opt out knowing they would be heaving a lung up somewhere at the base of the mountain.
I would like to note that heaving a lung does require more athletic prowess than one might think.
Katie and Steve opted for the more traditional marriage, to the great relief to all the relatives who value both their lungs. They put me in charge of organizing “The Bride’s 5k” the morning after the wedding ceremony. We decided on making it a fun run to include the widest range of people. I used mapmyrun.com (BTW I loathe this site. If any of you know of any better route mapping sites I am excited to hear about them) to recon a couple of options. Katie decided she wanted to keep the course in beautiful historic downtown Guilford CT (Here’s the route). I did use Mapmyrun.com to print up an Acrobat file of the race and it had most of the elements that I needed, but I wound up editing it and recompiling in Word.
The wedding went off well, and all who attended were showered by the love of the newlyweds. That is a story for another blog.
I went to bed feeling a new kind of apprehension. This wasn’t just prerace day running jitters, this was a new animal. Holy crap! I am responsible for the entire event and I hardly did anything. I kept having to remind myself this is a simple, no frills, fun event that was supposed to be fun for all because we are going to have fun. I just wanted it to be smooth and fun. Did I mention that it was a fun run?
Being responsible, I wanted to show up two hours early for the event, which had my family rolling their eyes. They whittled my arrival down to 30 minutes before the event. I woke up fairly calm and worked myself into a nihilistic beastly mood.
You people appreciate nothing! I am responsible for this thing! Don’t you know what it means to get ready to go? Why is the TV on?!?
The fam was not amused. Nor were they willing to take on the pretension and self importance that went with being the race director of a fun run. We piled into the car and arrived 20 minutes prior to race start…no-one was there. More eye rolling from the minions. Water! I didn’t think to get five cases of water for the five people that would be running. I was quickly imploding. People were going to show up and find me rocking fetal under the civil war monument.
People started to show up. What I thought would be a half dozen turned out to be about three times that. They all looked excited to take part. We had people both running and walking. My spirits started to rise. I handed out maps/course descriptions. Last to show were the Bride and Groom. Katie was wearing her veil and carrying her pretend flowers from the rehearsal and Steve was toting a flat of water (my heart danced).
We hastened over to the start line and started the race. The best man, who was German in origin, told us to watch his “German Start”. He put himself on the line and did the traditional track sprint start. The go was given. The group started running to the right. The best man ran left. I could tell that we were going to have fun. For the rest of the run, I had fun. I did hang back at a couple of street crossings to ensure the other runners knew where to go and crossed safely, but after a couple of those, I even let go of that and just enjoyed the rest of the run. Even though I was running bare foot, it was like that was a non entity. It’s just the way I run now. I got quite a few double takes and I heard a couple of “Brave Heart” refferences (oh, and my aunt kept comparing me to Jesus), it was a fun adventure. As I did my final push to the finish, I heard one of the runners declare “Great form!”. That comment had me feeling complete.
I received a good number of complements on the race course. The bride and groom looked smashing all weekend, they really know how to celebrate a wedding. Everyone made it across the line ok. My wife added a little distance to her time by making a wrong turn and figuring it out. Lots of little stories that make the sum total of a good organized race, but too many to tell. I could do this again.
I would like to thank those of you who participated. You all made it a good time. I would also like to thank my 11 year old stepdaughter Zoe for starting us out and keeping time for all of us, including writing down everyone’s results. Lastly, thanks to my wife and kids for putting up with my crap that morning. You guys are the best.
The Barefoot Kilt
Just run and enjoy the trip.