A Shamrock and Roll 5K Spectathlete Report
I’m going to go out on a limb and just say it. Dee Dee is taking the racing bit too far. I mean. She just finished one 5K, and the very next day, she signed up for another one. What’s the matter with this woman? One would think she didn’t race at all last year :-) Then, to make it worse, she rope a doped our daughter into doing the race with her! What a bad influence! I, on the other hand, managed to fend off the evil mental persuasion and declined to participate. With my race coming up this weekend, I just felt like it was a bad idea.
The clocks sprung forward an hour Sunday morning. Lucky for us, this race’s start time was 9 AM. That was a blessing. We got up at 6 AM-ish, ate breakfast and left the house at 7:15 AM for the 45 minute drive downtown. The race is held at Atlantic Station, a development right off the interstate near downtown Atlanta. Unlike previous races, this year, they opted to put packet pickup, the race start, and the finish lines out back in a parking lot. Still, by the time we had picked up Dee Dee and Jessica’s race packets, we had fifty minutes to kill.
We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Outside, the sun was shining, and the temperatures were brisk. We decided to wait near the car. It was noticeably warmer in the parking deck. About twenty minutes before race time, we headed back down to the starting line. I gave Teh Bug a kiss, then walked down the street to position myself for pictures. After the GetFit Atlanta peeps warmed everybody up, the race director counted down and set the runners in motion.
There were twenty-seven hundred registered participants in the race this year, a thousand more than last year. This little race is also getting big! The first runners came sprinting by, and I began the unenviable task of trying to identify Jess and Dee Dee in that sea of humanity. I smiled as a seven or eight year old girl came sprinting by, just behind the lead runners. Me thinks she was starting out too fast :-) By the time the dogs and walkers arrived, I pretty much admitted defeat. I never saw either one of them come by.
Given the shortness of the race, I went ahead and walked to the finish line. I picked out a good spot. I was one of the only people there, except for the race crew. I didn’t have long to wait. The same guy that won the Guns and Hoses 5K finished first in this race as well. His time was a little longer, but I understand he took a slight detour, and still, he finished first! LOL…
I pretty much figured that Jessica would come in around thirty minutes, and given Dee Dee’s time from last week, she would come in around forty minutes. Around the thirty minute mark, I’m relaxed, biding my time, checking out the runners as more and more begin to cross the line. Here comes this dad, pushing his 2 year old son in a jogging stroller. He’s pushing pretty hard, and the stroller begins to veer while good ole dad continues to push it straight. One thing leads to another, and the next thing I know, the stroller tilts forward, and baby is doing a face plant over the finish line, to be followed up by dad crashing into and over the stroller.
Mesmerized by the whole affair, I just stood there, unashamedly looking on in amazement. Some woman yelled “OH MY GOD” behind me and took off to help right the stroller. I was fearful that more people would get hurt, as the finishers were coming fast and furious. The helpful spectators up righted the dad and the stroller and quickly moved them off to the side. Fortunately for all involved, the dad and the stroller had taken most of the damage. I don’t believe the child had suffered a scratch, although he registered his displeasure in a loud and appropriate manner.
Not two minutes later, I’m off in la-la land, watching the runners, and the finish line gate comes crashing down, almost on the head of one of the runners. Evidently, one of the dogs had decided to take a short cut through the gate, and the leash had pulled the poles down. UNBELIEVABLE! This was prime example of how NOT to conduct a race. UGH! The poles were quickly up righted, and THEN the sand bags were put into place. They were lucky that more runners were not underneath the finish line when it came down.
At 34:50, Jessica came across the finish lines. I was able to pick her out of the crowd and snap some pictures as she came in. She didn’t see me standing there until I said something to here, and she bent over at the waist, quite intent, I believe, on barfing into her shoes. I patted her on the back and told her to keep moving. She came back to join me and wait for Dee Dee, who crossed the line in 39:52, a little better than her time from last week.
The girls drank water and rested up a bit. We then walked back to the car and headed for home. We managed to stop at the Waffle House on the way home for a traditional southern breakfast, and still made it back to the house by lunch. Now that’s what I call a great day at the races!