Today I woke up at 6:45 a.m. to meet some friends to run the Pensacola Annual Pumpkin 5k...I got there are about 7:30 a.m. and couldn't find anyone that I knew until about 7:55 a.m. But in that time I watched about 400 people mill around and greet each other and just enjoy the most beautiful day. I love watching people in community, that have known each other for years or just met - the awkward "don't have much time to tell you everything, but really want to let you know you matter to me" discussions...
I started running at 8:00 a.m. with about 250 others through our East Hill neighborhood - that has 80 year old houses with porches that overlook the bay. It is a great neighborhood.
Kids as young as six years old were running all around me, I had to be careful to not step on them as they darted right in front of me and then would turn to see if their friend was still near by. I ran behind a father with his 8 year old daughter for the first mile...she held his hand while the ran together, and she would ask, "Can we walk yet?". He asked her to wait till they got to the first water break which was a couple of blocks away - "We can make it", he kept telling her.
I started training over a year ago using the Jeff Galloway method - which basically means that you train and race using intervals. So today, I ran 2 minutes and walked one minute...well, not really, I ran 5 minutes, walked a minute, then 2, then 1, then 5, then 1...etc. I was pretty excited to be out there again. The last race I ran in was on my birthday in May while visiting my family in Ohio. My foot held up amazingly well through the entire race - and I finished with about 11 pre-teens, that I had passed a couple of times throughout the last mile, racing to beat their friends.
After eating a couple of oranges and cheering some other runners and walkers on...I decided to head to bagelheads for breakfast.
The first thing I did in my car is call my parents to let them know that I was able to get out there again...to invite them to celebrate with me.
It's a good day.