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By Ernie W. Webb III
“Great. There goes my PR (personal record).” It’s the first thing that ran through my mind when I saw the forecast for the Alumni Association 5K Fun Run and 2-mile campus walk Sept. 28.
After spending months preparing to finish the race in 28 minutes (three minutes faster than 2012, six minutes faster than 2011), I figured at the very least the weather would cooperate.
Nature’s answer: A forecast of heaving rain, gusty winds and lightning.
I tried to be positive: 1. “Well, the pressure’s off now. I can blame the weather.” 2. “Assuming there is lightning, I’m probably going to run a lot faster.”
The original goal was simple: As chronicled in the fall edition of The Ichabod, all I really wanted to accomplish this year was running faster than the lady wearing a tutu. Imagine my disappointment when she said she wasn’t running this year.
Suddenly, I needed inspiration to keep training and settled on breaking 30 minutes. Somehow, and I’m still not sure when or why, that became 28 minutes.
“You might be a little obsessed,” my wife said. “Think about how far you’ve come.”
Perspective. Perfect. A new strategy: Just run for fun. Or fast, if there’s lightning.
Amazingly enough, what was forecast as a powerful storm dissipated. The lightning and heavy rain moved east hours before the race. All that remained was a steady drizzle and a slight, cool breeze – great running weather.
I took my wife’s advice for about a half-mile before the competitiveness took over. I hit one mile in 9 minutes, 20 seconds, my fastest first mile since the George Bush (H.W., not W.) administration.
Mile No. 2, which I reached moments after passing the tutu (she opted to walk this year), came at 18:57, leaving a little more than nine minutes to hit the goal.
Surprisingly, I got a second wind on the last turn of the race, sprinting over the final quarter mile, fueled largely by a large group of cheering alumni, friends and my wife in the last stretch.
Twenty-seven minutes, 55 seconds. Now that was fun.