The race went well. Better than expected.
Said expectations were low due to high heat, as the race organizers scheduled this in a June Arkansas evening, which is to say on top of a hotplate set inside of Satan's anus, which was situated on another very hot thing which was also hot. I have officially pleaded for morning races henceforth.
Still, I hydrated like a motherfucker beforehand and clung to what shade I could find during the race. I did not run barefoot, because I've run barefoot on exposed blacktop in mid-90s heat precisely one time. It was a sensation I like to describe as "oh Jesus, I would murder a grandmother to make this stop".
So, toe shoes. Toe shoes and practically drive-by dry-humping what trees grew near enough to the course. And then there was the fire truck with the hose at the end. Did I tell you about that part yet? There was a fire truck. With a hose. At the end. And also beer.
There were no chip timers, but their measurement has my pace at being a few seconds under a 10-minute mile. Nothing to write home about.
Except I'd run in similar conditions a week prior and got heat exhaustion. Except I'm trying to push to a nine-minute mile so I can build up my distance and kick ass with a sub-four-hour marathon when I'm trained up in The Year Imaginary Christina Hendricks Unicorn Fellatio. Except I nearly cracked the top third of runners. Except I paced myself well enough that on the third mile I very much enjoyed blowing by The Gym Bros.
You know who I mean. Men twice my size with tribal tattoos and Bowflex muscles and 4% body fat. I smoked more than a few. Li'l nerdy old "let me check my bag of holding for my +5 Helm of Feynmaning" me.
But then I checked the results and saw that I was crushed in turn by a 65-year-old man. Just to clarify: I had my ass handed to me by a Medicare patient. Mr. Howell, you are my sworn nemesis.
I saw my family in the home stretch and grabbed my son by the wrist and had him jog to the finish line with me, which was one of the smartest personal PR moves I've ever come up with. You could hear the ovaries exploding along the way.
But in all seriousness, here's the thing:
Years ago I was in a great job surrounded by brilliant people in a department mere years away from being destroyed by morons with MBAs (not bitter), and a coworker challenged me to train for a half marathon. 18 months later, I'd run two halves and a full.
18 months from my couch to a full marathon.
Four-point-five years from that marathon to this 5k.
The Race to Remember 5k, even in my current shape, even in that heat, was far easier, but the road to this finish line was infinitely longer. Guess which one means more to me right now.
Hey, so I told you a story. That story was a story of personal triumph. So don't be a dickhole! Donate to Mamie's Poppy Plates, because you basically owe me at this point.