Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fun And Run In Summerville, SC-The "13th Annual Race For The ARK"

Saturday morning, August 25th, it was race day. The starting horn was scheduled to sound off at 7:45am. My alarm was set to go off at 6:00am, thus allowing me plenty of time to make preparations for the 5K race. As it turned out, the alarm wasn't necessary. Anticipation and a slightly elevated adrenalin count was all the clock I needed to alert me to the rising sun. I showered, ate a bowl of shredded wheat squares, and downed a glass of Mango Twist. Squeezed in a few moments on the ivories to relax and maybe lingered a little too long on the computer checking Facebook. The time had arrived to slip on my brand new pair of Saucony's and hit the road. It was a short 10 minute drive up Central Ave to the starting line in the historic section of Summerville. It was the annual "Race for the ARK", the 13th edition.

The Race is set up to give support to ARK, a local nonsectarian, nonprofit outreach program providing comprehensive support services to families dealing with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Hundreds of runners and walkers from all over the Lowcountry attend this Summerville event to participate in the fun and the run. The course is USATF certified and winds through some of the most beautiful streets of Summerville. You can sign up as an individual or you can be a part of a corporate group that is sponsored by one of Summerville's businesses. There are prizes for the top runners. The first male and female runner to break the course record will receive $100 cash prize. The corporate team with the overall best time would take home the traveling trophy for the year. Our group was sponsored by Aura Lee's Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories and there were a total of five runners.
Our Corporate Group
Me, Chelsea, and Bill
The temperature was a comfortable low 70's and the humidity was at a tolerable level. It was a perfect southern comfort morning for a run in the pines. I arrived on sight at 7:15am, signed in, and with our corporate group finally gathered together, awaited the highly anticipated horn blast. Conversation centered around evaluating each persons running experience since none of us had ever ran together before. I tried to keep expectations low in regards to myself because I had know idea what I was in for. It had been years since I ran, and I mean many years, in a sponsored running event. Cycling and swimming have been my forte in recent years. After all, the whole run from start to finish  adds up to only a meager 3.1 miles, should be a breeze. With visions of acing the course in record time dancing in my head, I readied myself with "Get on your mark," and it was go time.
Some of the runners before the start
We were out of the gate quick, maybe too quick. Now, I said quick, I didn't say fast. Ten minutes later we hit the one mile marker and I remarked, "You got to be kidding me, we've gone only one mile." My pre-race vision of basking in the glory of being presented with the prized trophy was turning into a figment of my over active imagination. I used to run a five minute mile in my younger days. We hit the two mile marker and the time keeper barked out, "21 minutes and ten seconds." The brand new Saucony's were beginning to irritate the back of my heels and I could feel the blisters beginning to form.

With 1.1 miles to go, I suggested to my fellow group runner, Bill Summers, the necessity of going out in a blaze of glory. Salvaging some of my damaged ego was now my concern. The scheme; take it home in a fast sprint with arms held high in celebration. This is where I must insert, "The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry." We rounded the final corner and the finish line was now in sight. I could hear a fellow White Gables resident, Kathy Owens, cheering me on and a sudden spurt of adrenalin kicked in. I did cross the line with arms in the air, but the sprint had faded to a trot and Bill Summers left me in the dust. Although, I did manage a quick burst the last twenty feet.
Kathy Owens is an experienced marathon runner
The finish line attendants took our numbers, registered our times, and handed us a bottle of water. We all congratulated one another on successfully completing the race. I was sweaty and bloodied, but feeling pretty good. The awards and trophies were past out and the race event was over. It was a another beautiful day in historic Summerville. This is just one of the many race events scheduled throughout the Charleston and Summerville area during the year. Come join the fun and see why it is the number one destination in the nation.

No comments: