Bright Night 5K

1st Annual Bright Night 5K
Date: Saturday, June 8, 2010
Location: Greenville, NC
Time of Day: 7:30 pm
Temperature: Low 80’s
Time: 17.45
Pace: 5.43 mpm
Place: 1st

While there was any number of local races I could have run this weekend, I decided to travel to Greenville to run this event held to raise money for ovarian cancer research. Here’s how it all came about… My personal trainer, Michael, introduced me through Facebook to his cousin, Bethann, who is an avid runner. Bethann and I had both run the 2009 Blue Ridge Relay and the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, and our paths may have even crossed. She and I have talked about our passion for running, local running clubs, races we have run, etc., and she shared with me the story of a friend of hers who had died of ovarian cancer. Bethann and her friends decided to hold this event in her honor.
This was a very well run race, from start to finish, and Bethann (who I finally got to meet face-to-face!) and the race committee should be very proud.
I arrived at Greenville a little before 6. Moe’s was one of the race sponsors, and the registration and awards ceremony took place there. I signed in, and then spent some time talking with Michael, his girlfriend, Britt, and his fraternal twin, Thomas. As there was ample time to warm-up, I suggested we run the course. The three of them decided they’d walk the course instead. I had only run a little over 2 miles when I saw them, and we walked the remainder of the course together.
The race started promptly at 7:30, with a wheelchair racer starting at 7:27. A couple of young men immediately took off, and most fell back very quickly. I was in the lead a quarter of a mile into the race, but I could hear a least one runner on my heels. I refused to look behind me. Besides, I knew I would have the opportunity to sneak a peek, as the course had many turns.
The race was run through a very nice community, although (as usual) I didn’t notice much. I focused on breathing (once every 3rd step) and form (hips forward, arms moving). By about mile 1.5, the 2nd place runner had fallen back 10 or so seconds, and eventually finished about 25 or 30 seconds behind me.
The course was very well marked, and I also had the luxury of following the lead bike, whose rider was kind enough to point out all of the turns. I also liked that the miles were not only clearly marked, but lit! (According to my Garmin, though, the 1st and 2nd mile markers were a little off.) Many of the signs indicating turns had notes below them as well, e.g., Are you thirsty? Wouldn’t you know it, the one that I noticed and that I then obsessed over said, Your almost halfway there. Yup, I felt compelled to get out a marker and change “Your” to “You’re”. I have a problem. That’s the first step, right?
There was one long stretch beginning at about mile 2.25, and I could see the wheelchair racer in front of me. He was going at quite a fast clip! I eventually caught and passed him with about .25 miles left, and he jokingly stated, “No one likes a show off.” He smiled and laughed, and we both shared words of encouragement.
Upon finishing, I quickly grabbed a bottle of water, fist-bumped the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers, and raced back to find Michael, as I had promised him that I would run him to the finish.
I caught up with Michael when he had about a half mile to go. He looked like he was suffering a little, so I didn’t say a word; I just ran a few feet in front of him. I then let him know about the upcoming turns, and informed him that he was almost finished. With about a quarter mile to go, I asked, “Are you ready for a finishing kick?” He immediately said, “No.” Ha! I nonetheless told him that I would count down from 3, and then we’d sprint to the finish. I counted down, but Michael didn’t pick up the pace. I saw 2 women close on his heels, so I said, “A woman is about to pass you.” Not surprisingly, that is all it took to motivate Michael, and he did indeed kick it. He finished with a respectable time of 23 and change. As soon as he crossed the finish line, I headed back to find Britt and Thomas. The volunteers began noticing just how much I was running, and jokingly said things such as, “You’re going the wrong way again!” and “Here’s Superman!” I found Britt and Thomas at just about the same location that I found Michael. Britt was looking strong, Thomas, well, not so much so. (Sorry, Thomas, but it’s the truth!) This was Britt’s very first 5K, and I’m very proud of her, particularly for her very strong finishing kick. Thomas finished just a little behind her.
I tried to talk Michael, Britt, and Thomas into running a couple of cool-down miles with me. There were no takers, so I ran a nice, relaxing 2 miles, encouraging runners along the way.
I spoke with Bethann briefly, and then Michael, Britt, Thomas, and I walked to a local pizza restaurant and each ordered a personal pizza. I walked to the awards ceremony, which I am delighted to say started on time (another thing to be proud of, race committee), and received my award from Bethann. The emcee was quite entertaining, and upon announcing my time said, “I couldn’t bike 3 miles in 17 minutes and 45 seconds.” The award is a very nice crystal trophy. I also won a pair of New Balance shoes.
Again, an excellent race!

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