Ok, so not really... but that ought to raise my stats a bit in Google, yes?
Last night, I did what I refer to as a naked run. I ran without the watch... or my headband that keeps my wispies out of my face... or my little Power Balance bracelet I wear on all runs now (I think it works!) Ok, so I also went without underwear. When it's incredibly muggy and hot and 15 degrees hotter than usual with indexes in triple digits, the last thing I needed was an extra layer under my shorts.
The Nashville Striders host a little all-comer's cross country series each August. I've never been, but I thought it'd be fun to go run a "just for fun" 5K with them. There's a start and finish line, and they set up a clock.. but that's the extent of it. There are no chips. No results. No awards. You run for fun!
I huge storm rolled through Nashville just a few hours before the event, so I left home in my old shoes that I didn't care about getting muddy. What I didn't know was that almost every stoplight between my place and the park were out. I started to think I wasn't going to make it on time since traffic was so bad, but I pulled up and snagged a parking spot close to the start (yay for having a tiny car!) just in time to sign in and line up.
The gun went off, and I headed out. The rain had cooled things down a bit, but it was still incredibly muggy. I also realized quickly that running in the mud was going to be taxing.
When we turned the first corner, I looked back and realized I was totally at the back of the line. A lot of the middle school and high school cross country teams had come out to run, and there were very few of us older folks in the mix. I tried to keep a steady pace the best I could with the grass and the mud and the hills, and I started picking off kids right and left. It appeared that many of them started out too fast, and by the last mile I passed a ton of them walking.
It actually brought back a lot of memories. As we passed by spectators, I realized that most of them were parents and coaches cheering on their teams. My parents still come to my races, so it made me smile to remember those days almost ten years ago when I started this whole racing thing and they were there.
I can't say my time was great. I finished in about 28:00 which is way slower than I'd like, but I'm cutting myself some slack since it was hard to breathe in the humid air and hard to run in the thick mud. My shoes and legs were a muddy mess, but I didn't care... it was awesome to just race for fun. I loved not being able to look at a watch and know where I'm at and have the opportunity to analyze every second.
There were popsicles at the end (smart!) and Gatorade, so I enjoyed the refreshments and scanned the crowd for a familiar face. With teens and parents everywhere and no one I know in sight, I decided to head out. I'm still glad I went and ran it, even if I didn't know anyone there. It was a nice change of pace from the treadmill I've been sticking to in order to avoid our ridiculous August heat.
PS - Happy Friday the 13th! Having been born on one, I love when they roll around!