Saturday I ran my 14th or 15th Crim. It’s a road race in Flint Michigan, a fundraiser for Special Olympics. Every year 10,000 runners descend on a small city that usually doesn’t see much action. I figured it was the biggest smile in my week, so I’ll share here how it all went.
I haven’t run this race since 2012. I haven’t run much of anything since then, but I’ve missed my runner friends, the camaraderie, the connection of training together, even if we could only share our stories via email or Facebook.
So in January I registered for the race, figuring if I paid good money I’d be sure to get out and get the miles in. I started with just 2 or 3 miles at a time, adding more miles each week, until last week I had a decent 10 mile run/walk at my favorite park.
And then suddenly it was here. All those runs over all those months would have to be enough to get me through.
Friday afternoon a running friend came to my house to spend the night. We planned to meet other friends at the Expo where we would pick up our shirts and numbered bibs.
And do a little shopping. All I bought were a few gels and a fanny bag to carry my phone during the race. Then we all went out to eat our pre-race meal.
It was so nice to catch up with good friends. We haven’t all seen each other in a long time. I sort of wished we could just do this part and skip the whole running 10 miles thing.
The morning of the race we got up at 5, rubbed the sleep from our eyes and tried to get motivated. It was 52 degrees (11.11 C) outside. Perfect.
We arrived in downtown Flint before dawn, and sat in the car chatting. Soon it was time to go meet the rest of our friends, in front of a bank where once upon a time I was a branch manager. That was several lives ago; now the building is condos.
They had the start area sectioned off for people who ran different speeds. Two of my friends and I went to wait in our section, very near the back of the pack based on our projections of a slow finish time.
It was pretty much a party back there.
At 8 a.m. they began releasing the runners, section by section. We finally began our race at 8:20.
We started out slow, slow enough to smell the roses…or the zinnias.
There was plenty of cool stuff for us to look at along the way,from murals…
…to vintage cars.
Even reading the backs of people’s shirts was fun.
Lots of people came out to support us at water stations…
…and just sitting in chairs ringing cowbells or clapping.
There were frat guys passing out beer, and there were mimosas available at this table.
But all I ever took was water. Even though it was still very cool for August I knew I had to keep drinking water. I tried to take cups of water from the kids that were handing them out, they got such a kick out of passing them out.
We saw lots of cool things.
Along the way we ran through an old neighborhood with beautiful homes…
…and lots of shade.
There was several musical groups too, from this jazz group…
to high school bands.
The Bradley Hills, at mile 5 were just has tough as always.
But eventually we made it around the last corner; we could see the finish line.
The last few blocks are run on the old red brick road of downtown Flint. Treacherous footing at best and we all know to be careful. But still, I managed to catch a toe on a bump and down I went, face and right hand taking most of damage. I was only 2 blocks from the finish.
Medical teams wanted to take me off the course but I insisted on finishing.
Then I went to the medical tent. Doc there said I dislocated my little finger. I ended up going to the ER where xrays showed it was broken at the base.
But I’m still smiling because it was a great race! Perfect weather, great friends.
Could have skipped that last little bit though.