January 1 is the first day of the new year. What better way to celebrate the new year than with a 5K. Lifetime Fitness sponsors Commitment Day races at all their locations across the US on January 1. I participated in the Commitment day race in 2016 at the Cary location. When registration opened for the 2017 race I decided to do the race at the Raleigh location primarily because it’s close to the house. The Raleigh gym is my home base. I was traveling back from Alabama during packet pickup early in the week. I asked my race partner in crime AKA Tall drink to pick up my packet when he picked up his. Being the very kind person that he is he did.
I’m not a big party person on New Year’s eve. I attended watch night service at church and then headed home afterwards to chill and relax before the race. Race morning showed up and I heard the rain earlier in the morning while I was still sleep. I checked the weather and saw that it was still ice cold outside plus rain. I layered up and packed my rain poncho. Once a Girl Scout always a Girl Scout, there is always a rain jacket in my trunk. Once I arrived at the gym, I went ahead and put on my rain jacket. I met tall drink at the gym. He signed up for the race thanks to my gentle persuasion especially when I told him there was a medal, he was in. We like bling and we can not lie. As I walk towards the gym entrance, I see one of my TRI sisters Cynthia Gary walking to the entrance as well. She tells me she has to go and pick up her packet. We walk into the gym together. I wait inside for tall drink to come in. Then we walk inside where most folks are hanging out since it is raining outside and it is much warmer inside. As we were hanging out at the entrance I run into one of my Galloway running peeps Meredith Le Vind. I make my way to the locker room to see a man about a horse and I see Alexis Barbarin and Claudia Gunter sitting in the lounge area. More tribe members show up and find us in the lounge area. It’s getting close to the start time, we head out towards the entrance to make our way to the back of the club where the race start/finish is located. As we are waiting around for the race to begin, Sharon Johnson, TIFL Raleigh president, mentions that we should get a picture. If you know my tribe, we love taking group pictures at events. It’s what we do.
I can tell by the crowd that some folks opted to stay home and not push through the cold and rain. We start to line up for the race. The announcer is making pre-race announcements. I can’t hear a word he’s saying. We all hope the course is marked and no one gets lost. Then we are off. The course goes out the back road out the gym. We pass behind Lafayette village, French inspired shopping center. We turn right onto Honeycutt. The cops have the right lane blocked off for us. I notice I have my personal entourage behind, Raleigh PD cruiser. As I get close to the turn, he pulls up beside me and tells me he has turn around to provide relief to another cruiser coming up from the park. He points out where the course turns. I head down Honeycutt and I see more cops at the turn. I turn left into the park and there is the greenway entrance. There is a course monitor who points to follow the greenway. I am on the greenway. The pavement is wet and slippery. I keep thinking had I been running I would have probably ended up at Wake Med with an injury because I am seriously accident prone just ask the bruises that show up. I finally hear the Garmin beep which means I have reached 1 mile. Hallejuah. As I making my way on the greenway, the course monitor volunteer is walking alongside me. I learn later that she was attempting to talk to me and I was ignoring her. That’s her version. I never heard her say anything. Then again I did have my headphones on. I noticed as I turned onto the greenway there is a white truck following me. I’m not concerned because I saw it pull into the park right after I got onto the greenway. Since it is on the greenway I’m going to assume it is a park and recreation official vehicle because those are the only ones allowed on the greenway. I come up on a MOUNTAIN. I can’t even call it a hill because it went straight up. I took it slow and steady. I could tell after I got to the top that it took a lot out of me because my pace has slowed up. I take in some water from my camel back because a sister is sweating profusely in 40 degree weather. I keep making my way through the greenway. I notice the mile makers have increased a least a ½ mile. I’m thinking I’m at the ½ way point of this race. The greenway runs along 540. I’ve never been on this greenway before. I can see an exit sign for Six Forks. I’m trying to figure out how the course will get back to Lifetime. The greenway finally ends in a neighborhood. There are 2 cops there and a lonely teenager manning the water stop aid station. Poor thing he must have been the only one to show up. I take the cup of water and keep moving. The cops tell me I don’t have that much further to go. I make the left turn and head through the neighborhood. The street connects to Strickland. The cop follows me in the right lane. I turn left on Strickland. Now I know where I am. Strickland runs into Falls of Neuse. Lifetime is about 3 blocks on the left. I’m on Strickland and I see a school coming up on the right. I notice this truck pulls into the parking lot. I’m looking to see if it has a bike rack on the back because if it does I know who this is. Guess who it is? Tall drink. He called me to check on me because he had finished the race and was about to leave. I told him we didn’t get a New Years race day picture. This lil ugly dude(Lil Ron Ron fans will get that reference) comes and finds me on the course. He crosses the street and asks me if I’m ok. I tell him I’m ok. He tells me to get my phone out so I can take the picture I just harassed him about lol.
He heads back to his truck. I keep moving up Strickland. I’m headed towards the shopping center. I see a lady waving towards me. It’s Harriet, she’s a trainer at the Plantation Point Lifetime. She tells me you got it from here. I tell her of course, my car is parked at the gym. She decides to walk back with me to the finish. Her and her kids join me. The cop car is still following me on Strickland. Harriet tells me that’s a good thing that they are out here. I tell her yeah because what if something happens. You should have someone. She tells me that there was no sweeper for this race and there really should have been. Every race needs a sweeper. We turn left onto Falls of Neuse. I can see the gym. Cops are on both corners of Lafayette. Harriet tells me she needed them where she was because folks were not happy about not being able to turn into the shopping center while the runners were on the course. Cops tells us to turn left. We turn left and there is only 1 more turn left. We turn left into the back entrance of the gym. We pass a sign that reads “pain relief here”. Harriet says isn’t that timely. I tell her year and my podiatrist is in that same building. My primary care physician is about 2 miles down the road. She says that’s convenient. Oh yeah. As we are getting closer to the finish line, mother nature decides it’s time for the REAL rain to show up. It’s coming down hard. I tell Harriet I’m glad the finish line is up. She tells me it better me. I tell her I’ve been at races where it was already taken down. I tell her my worst fear is to get back and there are no medals. I have heard that happens. She’s surprised. As I get closer to the finish line, I see a lady in a green poncho on the other side of the finish line. As I get closer I realize it’s one of my TRI sisters Sharon. She tells me that she was waiting for me to finish since the others waited for her to finish. I cross the finish line.
The volunteer hands me my medal
and I stop my Garmin. 1st race of 2017 is done. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to a few folks, tall drink for checking on me during the race and finding me near the end to check on me, Harriet who walked with me at the end and Sharon for being there at the finish line when I crossed. It takes a village to finish a race. Mine ROCKS!!!