Saturday, May 10, 2008

31st 5/3 Riverbank Run

I am happy to report that this morning's Riverbank Run was simply great. The weather at the start of the race was cool, about 45F, and there was not a cloud in the sky. The weather was perfect for an early morning run. I left the house at 0645 and proceeded to where I had parked in the previous races. However, because of all of the construction downtown, my secret little lot was unavailable. Undeterred, I drove a few blocks down the way and found another place to park. I parked my car, grabbed my camera and headed to the 5/3 main office where I met up with the other members of our running team. The photo to the right of this text shows most of the team, as well as our handsome tie-dyed Navy team shirts.

The leader of this whole evolution is a retired Navy Captain named Paul, who is a senior VP at 5/3 Bank. Paul drilled in my Reserve Center when I was stationed in Grand Rapids. Paul arranged for the four Navy teams to participate. We had two 5K teams and a single 25K team. We all congregated in the parking lot of his building, which is conveniently located right next to the starting line for the race. Paul was already present, along with a few other Sailors who would be running with us today. We were able to step inside Paul's building for a little warmth before the race, and we are also able to make a final head call before stepping off. By 0745 all of us were ready to start our respective races.

The 25K race began at the 0800. There were literally thousands of people running in the race. I watched that race start, and then I took my place in the crowd for the start of the 5K race. I promised Paul that I would run with him throughout the race. Paul is not much of a runner due to some knee issues, so I wanted to stay with him during the race and keep pace with him. We walked to the back of the pack of people lining up for the 5K, assembling near the sign that said, "9 Minute Pace." That meant that we were starting the race with runners who hoped to run the race at about a 9 minute per mile pace. We took our position and the race began. The start of a 5K with 12,000 or so of your closest friends is more of a brisk walk up to the starting line, as there are literally thousands of people ahead and behind you trying to start their respective race.

Paul and I made it up to the starting line and we were off. Paul and I ran at an easy pace, and the cool weather made the run nothing short of fantastic. It was not too cold, and not too hot. As Goldilocks would have proclaimed, "It was just right." Paul and I made our way around the roads and bridges in downtown Grand Rapids, and before we knew it, we were approaching the finish line. Paul and I crossed the finish line together, so my mission was accomplished. Runner 11346 does not have an official time yet, as that will be posted on-line later today.

It was great catching up with some of the Sailors I knew and led when I was here in Grand Rapids. I was asked when I had retired from the Navy, as well as what I was doing now in "retirement." I filled them in on my employment with General Electric, and Iwas able to find out what they were doing. All of them reminded me that I had the honor and pleasure of spending 22 years playing in the greatest team sport the world has ever known: The United States Navy.

No comments: