Monday, July 5, 2010

Hot Springs Firecracker 10K

Bonus post today -

As part of the motivation we knew we'd need while being here in South Dakota, my wife and I signed up for a race on the 4th of July. For her, it would be her first 5k. It would be a great training run for me.

Now I've been to some small races but this one has to take the cake (actually, pie as I'll explain in a minute).

There weren't more than 100 people at this race. The start and finish line was the service entrance to the local Park near the old cemetery. The volunteers where sitting at picnic tables under the pavilion getting folks registered, taking their money and giving out the swag bags. The humorous thing about that scene was that each picnic table was marked with black marker written on a paper plate.

Having driven an hour to Hot Springs from Rapid City, we barely had enough time to get everyone ready and to the starting area in the 15 minutes we had let alone deal with my 4-year old son and his disdain of the number 595 for some reason (maybe because 593 is a prime number, who knows!?!). We barely had enough time to stand in line for the restrooms/out-houses before the lady organizer started shouting instructions from her bull horn.

Now we apparently didn't catch that the start of the 10k/5k was first and then everyone else doing the mile run/walk should wait until 8:15 to start. So while my wife and I take off running, Nana starts walking with the 10/5k-ers.

I have to say that I'm very proud of my wife for running her first 5K. It wasn't for time. It wasn't for glory. It was to finish. And that she did. I can't say that she has a passion for it like I do but that's not necessary. It keeps her fit and it's something she can do without going to the gym. Oh, and it keeps her sane by getting out of the house for 30-60 minutes at a time. I love you babe.

So apparently Nana and the kids apparently walk to the 1 mile point and turn around to head back. She relays that either it wasn't marked or she didn't see the half-mile point. So as Nana is finishing, my wife comes running up behind them and they all finish together. They find out later of course that the mile walk hasn't even started yet and that the course goes the opposite direction.

In the meantime, I am having the run of a lifetime. There are rollers, steep climbs and curvy roads all nestled in between on the most beautiful valleys I've ever had the chance to run. Imagine these blazing red cliffs surrounding you. A creek running at capacity only 3 feet away from the road. Perfect conditions - not too hot yet a slight breeze on your face.

I felt strong the entire way - strong enough to turn in a PR, which I'm very proud of.

After I finished my race, we hung out for a little while and relaxed. My daughter decided that she wanted to do the mile walk (again). So we all saddled up and went out for the actual mile walk they should have done in the first place. The irony of the day is that basically everyone did (at least) a 5k.

As we were leaving, we noticed a table full of brownies, pies and desserts. Yes, they held a drawing for all these homemade pies (and treats) made by the race volunteers. Each of the kids won one. Awesome.

It was a great day. A great race. A day we'll never forget. Thanks Hot Springs, SD.

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