I stood side by side behind the eldery, little kids, and middle aged folk just like me. Some were in shape, some were far from so. All of us were drenched in sweat, nervous and impatient. Something weird happened. I didn’t think of music, I thought of a movie. A fake President from a fake story about aliens invading the planet 15 years earlier. Bill Pullman’s character in Independence Day started speaking to me.
I did not go quietly into that good night nor that humid, crowded, crazy morning. A guy wearing a multi colored wig dropped a red flag and I started running. For the fourth time in my life, I jogged, sometimes walked, a few times ran, the 6.2 mile course through downtown Atlanta, Georgia called the Peachtree Road Race.
This time was a lot different than the other three. I had nothing to prove. No age to consider. I wasn’t getting over an illness or conquering anything mental. I ran for fun. I slapped hands of little kids that lined the left side of the course. I smiled at people yelling “come on Panama City Beach”. It occurred to me, that my sleeveless shirt I had chosen to run in because it was white (i wore black last year) meant I was representing the Redneck Rivera. I laughed at two dudes dressed as Eagles. I talked with and ran beside two other guys dressed as George Washington and Abe Lincoln. I didn’t take my ipod because I wanted to absorb the culture of the event. I’m glad I did this. My family waited on my at the finish line including Bobina, the girls, and my sister in law.
At the 3 mile mark, I saw I had blazed through only 30 minutes of time. Then cardiac hill, a huge incline up Peachtree Street ate me alive. I hadn’t trained like I had in the past. Despite heckling from some well lubricated race fans “run harder Panama City!” I walked up that hill. I tweeted. I tweeted a lot.
With a mile left I picked up whatever pace I could gather. My knees were barking like a Baha Man. My legs felt very old. As I crossed the finish line at the 1 hour 11 minute 51 second mark, I realized it was my worst running time ever. I also concluded of my 4 Peachtree Road Races, this was the best time I had ever had.
*blogger’s note* This is my contribution to www.studiothirtyplus.com ‘s writing prompt INDEPENDENCE.
Today’s song is a curveball. Most people would throw down Born to Run or Run Like Hell or something patriotic since it was the 4th of July road race. Not me. It was a great day and I had fun. This song was in my head almost the entire time. It’s light, peppy, power pop from the band Free Energy. The song’s Free Energy too.