Three Friends

Three Friends
Three Friends

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: The Year in T-Shirts

I ran seven 5ks in 2012! What a great improvement over 2011 (one 5k) and 2010 and all the previous years (no 5ks!)

There was the Iron Girl in April and the Metric Marathon and 5k in November, both held in beautiful Columbia, Maryland.

The September 5k, Fall into Fitness, didn't give t-shirts. But they did give beer. 9:00 in the morning, and there was beer, and hot dogs and hamburgers and sausages being cooked right there. It was quite an event!

The starting point was a total mess, though. We were herded up to the start point, which was not marked, and no one knew which way to face, so we were two large groups of people facing each other, ready to run ... right into one another. We all turned the same direction, and then the organizer hollered at us to move back. So everyone turned around and started walking backwards -- and then the starter fired the gun. Imagine a few hundred people suddenly whirling around, slapping their watches, and taking off.

The 22nd Annual Spirit of Gettysburg was in June, and I felt like I was going to die of heatstroke. I will do that one again, but I will walk it. I just can't handle running on a warm day. It was a beautiful run, right past a flaming memorial (which I couldn't see because I was blinded by sweat).

The Jingle Bell run was part of a series of runs held throughout the country on 1 December. Slick and I ran the one held at Centennial Park in Clarksville, and Tillie's husband ran one in Alabama, where he was visiting at the time. It was cool and humid, and I felt like I was going to melt away. This one was a mess; the running trail was narrow, and there were about 1400 people there -- 600 more than expected. And there were some exceptionally rude people at this one -- walkers ambling 2 and 3 abreast in the middle of the path, which made it impossible to get around them without running in the mud on the sides. If I could have gotten my breath I would have fussed at them (orpushedthemintothemud). But you know how some people show up for runs with no intention of either running, or getting their pretty shoes dirty ...

These two events were held by my workplace. The annual Armed Forces Week 5k is held during Armed Forces Week in May; a bit warm for me by then, and it's actually a very hilly 5.3k run.

The Monster Dash is the annual Halloween run/walk. A lot of people walk, but that is because their costumes won't allow for running. And we saw some very creative (and disturbing) costumes. My favorite was the Octomom, but there were also characters from comic books and movies.

This is the 5k that started it all, in October 2011...

I actually couldn't fit into this t-shirt until six months later. I started 2012 weighing 20 pounds more than I do now.

And this year, 2013 started with this:

Held in Patterson Park in Baltimore, yesterday afternoon. Again, very hilly and very cold outside. About 1,000 people showed up. Guess how many port-a-potties they had available?

Go on, guess. You'll never guess.

None. There were none.

Absolutely none. 1,000 people had to make do with the bathrooms in the basement of St. Elizabeth's Church, and guess what? They all backed up and overflowed (basement bathrooms near the waterfront, go figure). It was a mess! Afterwards, there was chili and cornbread (we just had to avoid standing in the uh, water near the bathrooms), the inevitable bananas, and dozens and dozens of homemade cookies. I couldn't stomach the chili, but I did have four cookies. Five cookies. No regrets!

I have to say a big part of the fun of these runs is the energy and high spirits of the other runners. No matter what happens -- too few toilets, too many people crammed into a small starting space, the man with the starting gun shooting it at the worst possible time -- everyone is excited and happy and laughing. The serious runners are way up front where they can run unimpeded, but everyone else just arranges themselves in the line according to their abilities, and then we shuffle forward until enough fast runners clear out and we can spread out a bit.

And now I've been to a total of nine 5ks. None of these would have been possible without all the organizers and volunteers, handing out water, picking up discarded cups, making sure everyone gets a banana, and standing along the trail helping us all stay on the right route. It's thankless, because no one ever thanks them except for in passing. Runners tend to be a little arrogant (we saw that when the New York Marathon was canceled) and I am just as guilty of this. Next time, I will go around and personally thank the volunteers for their assistance.

Here's to a great 2013!

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