Oh, dear little Rabbit Run! I now feel a strange affection for this unassuming 5K race. It was as sincere as Linus’s pumpkin patch, and what it got for its efforts was a great big smack across the face from Old Man Weather.
Is Old Man Weather a thing? Whatever; what I’m trying to say is RAAAAIN. Or, in the words of the race announcer, “We’ve regressed to February.”
The weather apps predicted it for days, but it was still a bummer: while the preceding week was full of 80 degree days, the rain began and the temperature plummeted the night before the race. Racing morning dawned in the high 40s with a steady rainfall that ranked somewhere more than a drizzle but less than a downpour. Not encouraging.
Still, when I sign up for a race, I show up for a race, so I trundled myself into the race and drove the half hour to Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington. I was able to park right next to the staging area and wander up to the tent for my bib. “Thanks for coming!” said the volunteer who assigned my number.
I headed back to the shelter of my car to await the race start, sticking my arm out the car door so my Garmin could pick up a GPS signal without me getting wet. Innovate, adapt, overcome, right? About 10 minutes before race start, I popped into a porta potty before lining up with the stalwart to await the starter gun. The race supports a local kids’ theater group, and one of their students sang the national anthem. Then it was go time!
As I noted in my race failure post, I was bound and determined to finally get a freakin’ PR in this race, so I set out at a fast clip.
The 5K is not my preferred distance, and here’s why: either it’s an easy jaunt, whatever, or it is – wait for it – HAAAARD. It was so hard, guys! I was cold and it was raining and sometimes it was windy and I had to keep up a Very Speedy Clip? WTF, people; that’s not meditative. You, like, can’t let your mind wander! That’s why I run, to let my mind wander!
Still, I was VERY DEDICATED to this whole PR idea, so I kept at it. The course was pretty flat, which was nice, if not particularly interesting – we ran out of the Town Center, down some residential roads, looped back around, and wound up in the Town Center again. If you want, you can drive to your local outdoor mall and largely see what I saw.
But that’s okay; we weren’t there to be awed by our surroundings. We were there to run. (And get rained on.) So run I did. Truth: I wanted to slow down but I didn’t, per the Runner’s Code. Though I was dangerously close to fading at the finish I willed my legs to carry me forward and… I DID IT! I PR’ed in the 5K! By about 14 seconds, which is not huge but it is definitive! New record! New record!
I came to a halt and experienced my first hiccup that was almost vomit, but then I was fine. Is that what sustained high-level effort feels like? Gross. Give me a distance race any day.
It was still raining, but it wasn’t too terrible. Under the circumstances, your larger majority of the turnout was the hardcore runners, and most of them waited around for the awards ceremony. There were snacks and water available, and we all applauded as each runner came in. The last pair in fact finished during the ceremony itself, and we all paused to clap for them – a grandfather and grandson. They were walking out in the rain for nearly an hour. Troupers! See what I mean about sincerity?
There was a QR code to scan to get your results, and I was shocked, shocked to discover that I had a) come in 12th overall; b) was the 4th place female; and c) won my division! I mean, yes, out of what turned around to be a grand total of 41 people who didn’t have the sense to get out of the rain, but still.
This race didn’t have finisher medals per se; however, all award winners received medals, and the race organizers huddled under a tent to announce the recipients. Almost everyone stayed to applaud the winners. Oscar Wilde could never be so earnest!
Indeed, the race announcer accidentally skipped my division, so at the end I stepped forward to ask if I had missed it. “Oh, I must have missed one,” he said, to which I replied, “That’s okay, you don’t have to announce my name!” “I absolutely insist,” said he, proceeding to read off the list, and a photographer took my picture and everything.
So that was my Rabbit Run 5K experience. It was a success because I set out to get a personal record, and by God I did it. And it was a success because I won my division, a distinction I never necessarily expected to manage even on a local level.
But it was also a success because I could feel more than ever before the hard work and effort race organizers put into throwing these events. It’s such a bummer that the weather discouraged people from running, or probably even signing up in the first place. I hope they aren’t downhearted, and try again in the future. Old Man Weather, you do right by them next time, you hear?
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