I almost missed out on something exciting Saturday morning.
Earlier in the week, I thought I would try to run in the Celia Hays Spooktacular Fun Run at Celia Hays Elementary School in Rockwall.
I realized Friday night that running anywhere Saturday morning probably wasn’t going to be such a great idea. Cold was in the weather forecast.
I got up early as usual Saturday and, sure enough, it was cold. The temperature was in the 30s. And when I left home about 7 a.m., it was 41 degrees.
I didn’t announce to anyone that I was thinking about running in this 5k. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find the school. I knew exactly where the school was, but if I got wimpy and decided to not run because it was too cold, I could say that I couldn’t find the school.
I’m just kidding about telling a little white lie. I would have actually told the truth. Truthfully.
Anyway, I’m glad I showed up. The weather was almost perfect. The perfect running temperature for me is 48 degrees, and I’ve heard that the race was run in 50-degree weather.
Most everything that happened that morning was positive.
The only negative for me, I guess, was that the race started without me.
I had been talking to running couple Greg and Dorothy Hadley, and realized it was time to start making my way to the starting point. I had a few minutes to make it to my normal starting point in the crowd.
I know my place. It’s certainly not up front with the fast runners.
And it’s certainly not in the back with the slow runners — even though I am one of them. I try to start off in the middle of the pack.
As I was making my way through the crowd, I heard, “On your mark. Get set.
Wait a minute, I thought. We’ve still got a few minutes before the race is scheduled to begin. Jim-time said I still had four minutes until race time.
Someone else was in a different time zone and the race started — without me.
Actually, I was in the race, but not where I wanted to be.
It was crowded. I stumbled over a few children who were in the race. I think I dodged a dog or two, baby strollers, jogging strollers and walkers. I almost tripped over a curb. And all that happened before I got out of the school parking lot and turned onto Farm to Market 1141.
We turned off FM 1141 onto FM 552 and then onto Anna Cade Road.
I had fun on Anna Cade Road, observing so many parents and kids running together.
One father and son duo got my attention because of their conversation.
“We’re going to run all the way to the end (to the turnaround point) and then run back,” the father said.
“No, no, no, no,” the panicked little boy responded.
I never saw them again. I don’t know if they finished the course.
I also was challenged by two young boys. They silently poked fun at the old man — that would be me. But, old man got the last laugh.
The boys, who appeared to be nine or 10, appeared to be pleased with themselves as they ran past me on Anna Cade Road, about a mile from the finish line.
“You’d better not let me beat you,” I told them.
“We won‘t,” one responded. The boys sped ahead of me.
In a few seconds, they were walking. Every time I would catch up with them, they would sprint ahead of me. But they finally ran out of gas.
I tried my best to inspire them.
“I’m 62 years old,” I told them.
“I’m old enough to be your grandfather,” I added. Still no response.
I ran ahead and planned to wait for them at the finish line. Apparently they strolled to the finish. They were way behind me.
The run went very well for me, I thought. I’m not so big on my time. Success for me depends on how my body responds during and after the run. On this day, my body felt very well.
And I had a strong finish. I love downhill finishes.
I had an enjoyable time after the run. I liked the festive atmosphere. Teachers were getting dunked, some lucky people were picking up some pretty nice door prizes. And there were some food booths to go along with the normal after-race feast of oranges, bananas and water.
Awards were presented to the top three male and female finishers in two age categories — under 18 and over 18. I didn’t win in either, so I decided to reward myself. I presented myself with a frozen custard from Culver’s.
I’m so glad I found the school and didn’t wimp out because of cold weather.
And since I was at school that morning, I’d better leave with something I learned. OK. Got it. Cut your pre-race conversations and get to the starting line. There’s nothing worse for a slow runner than being a step or two behind before you even cross the starting line.