I’m very happy to live in South Carolina.
Now, I’m sure you guys are wondering why I say that. Our governor confuses Argentina with the Appalachian Trail, we rejoice in the fact that one or two other states actually have higher unemployment than we do for once, and my undergrad roommate just posted a picture of the holes in the ceiling at our state’s flagship university’s law school (U-S-C… gooooo cocks!).
I have many friends who’ve moved away or who live in other states or areas and love it. Good for them. They can have the high paying jobs and good roads, educational systems, and restaurants. I’m from the land of basketball and BBQ and it feels like home.
Nothing beats running outside in 65 degree weather, wearing shorts and a t-shirt in January. So when my boss’s boss told me that his church and our company were sponsoring the Polar Bear 5K, I jumped at the chance. Or shall I say, ran to his office for an entry form :).
Of course, as soon as I signed up for the race and paid my $20 entry fee, South Carolina got some of the coldest weather we’ve seen in years. SC residents actually had to retire their tank tops and flip flops for two solid weeks as temperatures barely got out of the 40s (if that). Fortunately, I managed to get in lots of running between putting on layer after layer of clothing and fuzzy warm gloves and headbands or either getting on the treadmill and tuning into geeky trash TV. Being on a treadmill helps me feel better about watching shows like Extreme Akim and Real World Washington.
The week before the race was a tough week for me. On top of still struggling with my grandma’s death and my church being suddenly disbanded, I had one of *those* weeks at work. You know… I had one of *those days*… every single day that week. But, I ran outside 4 days that week in the beautiful weather on Florence’s Rail Trail. There’s nothing better than a nice run after a stressful day at work.
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through when you start running- you won’t be thinking about it 3-5 miles later (granted you may be on your way to the ER, especially if it’s July or August). Perfect stress relief- running’s cheaper than smoking, it won’t make you drunk dial your ex at 3 AM, and it’s more effective than an antidepressant. Oh, and if you want to get close to God, put some rockin’ praise and worship music like Jeremy Camp or Sonicflood on your iPod and experience His creation by running through the woods.
On the morning of the Polar Bear 5K, I got up bright and early and stretched and all that good stuff. I ate a nice breakfast of Greek yogurt and a power bar (yuck!) and headed out to the course. It was actually nice weather- probably low 50s. After an intense 31 minute and 48 seconds of hills and curves and the big honkin’ mountain hill that looks like it was transplanted from another region of SC… I crossed the finish line.
I came in 104th place overall. Of course, I really wish I’d passed 5 more people so that I could brag and say I came in the top 100, but oh well. I wasn’t disappointed with my time at all, and I plan to do the race next year. It was a good experience, and I’m glad to have shared it with my coworkers- Marvin, Steve, Sally, Page, Nick, Rebecca, and Kristen, not to mention a few others who I randomly met at the race (sorry if I left anyone out. I was a zombie after I finished this thing).
Now that I’m done with the Polar Bear run, it’s onto my next running goal… a 10K. That’s 6.2 miles for you, twice the length of Saturday’s race. I haven’t figured out where and when I’ll run that YET, but the training starts now.
Here’s to hoping I place in the top 100 *raises water bottle to toast*.