Saturday, March 18, 2006

VA 1-2-3 Walk/Run

The 2006 VA Hospital's Step Up To Nutrition 1-2-3 Walk/Run will always be a special race for me, because something unusual happened... more on that later. Amy works at the VA Hospital and told me about this event, otherwise I wouldn't have known about it. The event is hosted by the food and nutrition department of the VA hospital, and it is a fund raiser for paralyzed veterans.

The course was the loop around the hospital and parking lot, which was roughly one mile long. Participants could do up to three loops, running or walking. A small field gathered for the 8:30 am start (which is VERY late by Florida standards - but nice to be able to sleep in a bit) and I seeded myself at the front, since only three or four others looked like they were going to run. The race started and I set off at a comfortably hard pace. I was in the lead but I could hear someone a few feet behind me.

As we ran around behind the hospital, I could tell I was stretching my lead out, when I realized that for the first time ever, I was in front! I passed the start where Amy and I waved at each other and headed out onto my second loop. She stayed to help work the water station and wasn't able to run in the event. Halfway through my second lap I started to pass a few people, and kept on my pace. As I came by the start/finish again, Amy handed me a cup of water which was very welcome since it was getting hot, and this course had no shade. After a few seconds I set off again on my third loop and finished up with a total time of 19:13. My time seemed very fast for a 3 mile run, so I think the course was really more like a 0.9 mile loop or 2.7 miles total.

I wasn't the first person across the finish line because one person ahead of me did a one mile walk/run and finished around 12 minutes. But I was the second finisher and I came in before all other two mile and three mile participants. So in a way, I won this event! Granted, the field was small and non-competitive, but still... I seized my chance because who knows if this will ever happen again. :)

Afterwards, I stayed at the finish and helped score the other finishers - a total of 36 more. Amy and her coworkers served up water and took pictures as each person crossed the finish line.

Anyway, it was a fun run and extra cool since I got a glimpse of what leading and winning an event is like.

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