Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Most Excellent Morning

Being retired means that every morning is Saturday morning.  But this Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear and with an agenda. 

It's been a very long time since I entered a 5k race.  It was possibly 5 or 6 years ago, when I entered the Fallen Heros 5k (a countrywide initiative of the Wounded Warriors Project) in Sugarland.  Now I'm entered in another 5k race, this one in Katy TX.  I realized just now that both of these little races involved doing it with a friend who is, or who has been, on a "journey."  

My entry in that little race a few years ago was the result of trying to get a girlfriend involved in USAFit, a walk/run program intended for folks who've never run a step in their lives.  She desperately needed to lose weight and diet alone was not going to help her.  She needed to get active...get moving.  I got her signed up for the USAFit program and then got her signed up for that race.  It was an out-and-back loop and I ran out ahead of her with the plan that she would short-circuit the route when I came back on the return leg and we would walk together to the finish line.

My entry in today's little race was as a result of another friend who's on a weight loss journey of his own.  He sent me a copy of his race entry confirmation email, in hopes that I would enter the race as well, and we could do it together.  Well, what better reason to do this race, than this?!

So last night I checked the weather (cold and blustery!) and laid out my running clothes in preparation for the next morning.  This morning I awoke on my own without an alarm, got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and then drove to Katy TX, to Christus St. Catherine Hospital parking lot, where the race would start and finish.

I'd forgotten how pleasant and easy these small little races really are.  No crowds, no parking problems.  Informal - almost too informal - starting line procedure. 

We almost missed hearing the start gun, we were so busy talking to a local high school drum line group who were there for start line motivational noise.  But we quickly caught up, got across the start line mats (yes...they even had timing chips for the 5k race!). 

My friend started out at a blisteringly fast walking pace...much faster than he led me to believe that he was capable of.  Then he broke into a fast jog, again faster than I expected of him.  We mostly walked, but he jogged for short stretches through to the mile 2 marker.  It was great seeing him doing this!!
Rewarding - although very cold - morning!
Flirting with the Chick-Fil-a Cow!

I ran ahead to each of the mile markers so that I could photograph him as he passed these landmarks.  I ran ahead to the finish line, too, so that I could get him and the timer clock in the shot as he ran through.  It is so motivating watching my friend take this journey to personal improvement.  Great day!

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