Friday, May 16, 2014

Possum Valley 5K

I just started running a couple months ago to help promote and maintain a healthier lifestyle. The first week or two I couldn't even make it to the end of the block without having to stop and gasp for air, but as I continued to work at it I was able to add to my distance achieving my minimum target run of 5K, hence "The Possum Valley 5K". Little did I know when I started that once you surpass a certain threshold, running appears to have an addictive effect.  I now feel an urge, a need, a desire to run. If I see someone else running I get all jealous and want to stop and join in beside them. Since I started running I feel better then I have in years, maybe even ever. My blood pressure is down, I'm sleeping better, I've noticed less stress and I'm maintaining a healthier body weight.

Today's run was different. I would go as far as to say it was the best yet. Not because of the pace or because of the distance. It's because it was so serene. It started out like any other, heading down the rural highway on which I live, turning and continuing down a blacktop county road that transitions briefly to gravel and then back to blacktop. The temperature was pleasant and mild, birds were chirping in the woods and I could hear the roll of thunder in the distance. The smell of sweet Honeysuckle filled the air. As I looked into the distance I saw an early evening thunder shower on the horizons with rays of sun shining around the clouds forming a breathtaking silhouette. I could see the rains streaking down from clouds to earth.

As I ran my thoughts wondered to a friend and colleague who had recently passed away due to cancer. She was a great K-12 school administrator and coach, a strong willed woman who had a lot of spunk and vigor. She's the type of person you know you can depend on as a true friend. Regardless of your circumstances she would be there for you, always encouraging, always pushing. I guess she came to mind because I had signed up for my first 5K run this weekend in her memory. The Hunka Hunka 5K the kick-off to the local Relay for Life, a cancer awareness and fundraiser event sponsored by the American Cancer Society and local communities all around the country. This will be my first running event where I'm actually running with others. For the last couple of months I've been solo.

As I reached my intended turn-around point I decided to go a bit further since it was cloudy, cool and I was feeling good. There was a threat of rain as the thunder showers moved closer. I find running in the rain refreshing as long as it's not pouring down or storming, "I'm wet with sweat already, what's a little rain going to hurt", I say.

I finally turned around and headed back toward the house, On the way back I started wondering what was different about this run, it seemed different from all my others... when I realized that I had not seen or heard any automobiles or humans during the entire run, it was just me, nature and the road, normally I have to deal with traffic, dogs or both. Then out of nowhere there was this brilliant pure white flash of light behind me, casting my shadow out before me, followed quickly by a deafening crash of thunder which seemed right on my heals, as if my friend was telling me to "get it in gear and pickup that pace...", that would definitely be the coach in her, so that's what I did. As I arrived back at the house a gentle rain had started to fall...

The Possum Valley 5K, a good run indeed...