May 10, 2011

Spoiler alert: Charlie did not actually win the Commit to be Fit 5K, but he did very, very well.

We missed the registration party the night before at the Hyatt, so Charlie and I woke up very early on Saturday morning so we could walk down to the registration area to get him his bib and commemorative shirt.

We negotiated with Mr. Shatner and got a room at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, and oh. my. God. it was AMAZING.  There was part of both he and I thought about eschewing the race entirely and spending the whole morning decadently sleeping in a king-sized bed, eating room service, and enjoying an entirely-glass shower.

At any rate, we walked from the hotel to the site of the race, and it was a chilly morning, but good for running.  Hey, did you know that over 12,000 people registered for the three races?

I got Charlie herded into his corral about 20 minutes before the start of the 1/2 marathoners and stood on the small hill adjacent to the starting line.  As they launched the racers in waves, the next corral would move to the front.

I caught a glimpse of Charlie in the crowd as he was waiting to start, and we waved, but I lost him again in the sea of people.

As soon as they started the 5K, I went up and around the block to wait for Charlie to finish.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take him to get through the race: he’d been committed to run in the race for about four months, and training on the actual track for the last two.  He can really book it on a treadmill, but as I’ve found, running on the street is a lot harder than a treadmill.  I settled my tuchas in after the finish line, so that maybe he’d have a better chance in seeing me.

The first guy across the line was a gentleman from Columbus who finished his 1/2 marathon in barely over an hour.  The second guy across the finish line was a 5K runner who finished in an amazing (to me, at least) 18 minutes!

A little later, I watched a father/son team cross the finish line together: the son could not have been any more than nine! When his dad scooped him up into a big hug and said, “Way to go!” everyone in the crowd cheered hard and loud.

But where was Charlie?  Would he come across the finish line alone?  Would be be in a big clot of people, and would I miss him?  What if I didn’t get to see him finish?

He arrived in what seemed like no time at all.  26 minutes and 31 seconds later, Charlie crossed the finish line, a big smile on his face.  While he was smiling his face off, I was cheering mine off.

I don’t have a picture of him crossing the finish line; but luckily there are about 9 different official photos of him finishing.  I hugged him when I finally skipped through a few barriers (you can’t fence me in/out); and it was worth the sweaty smear.

In addition, we ran into one of his dear friends from his first job in Mansfield, whose wife was running in the 1/2 marathon (she did fabulously, too).  I snapped this picture of them together, and plan on sending a framed copy to him once I order prints.

Charlie’s official numbers, for the 5K stats:

  • 26:31 finish time
  • 93/1240 all runners in the 5K
  • 72/437 men running the race
  • 13/64 in his age group
I am so proud of him!
He is now training for the 1/4 marathon, because he “wants a bigger medal next year.”