Snake on a Plain

*I don’t know if the Alford Greenway here in Tallahassee is a plain technically but ….. when the race director intercepted me somewhere in the 3rd mile and said “stay left” and I figured out the objective of his diversion was to keep me away from “ the snake,” I did. Fortunately we all survived w/a great story to tell.

To give you a bit of background, Roger Schmidt is the race director of the “Run for the Tape.” Roger is an all-around good guy – a proficient (and fast) runner, someone who (as an athletic training major or some other major aimed at putting runners together who may or may not have attempted idiotic things) helps out in all kinds of ways behind the scenes at races, and in general makes you feel good about the sport of running. I was a little surprised to see him out on the course somewhere in the third mile of the 8K, but I just figured he was monitoring things. “Stay left” and “wanna keep you away from this guy” [for the record, I never saw the slithery guy] were enough to keep me moving right along. (Not sure what Roger was going to do either, actually – convince the snake to look for a mountain biker instead of a runner as a victim? Apply copious amounts of training tape to immobilize it?)

Later when we were all processing the day on social media, I saw another runner talking about how the runner to his right was all of a sudden to his left, having seen another reptilian race attendee. He said he had never seen her move so fast (and she’s a frequent winner of 5Ks!).
I have gotten lost out at this same venue before (for hours – not a good place to be when you’re directionally challenged). Besides listening to a whole bunch of the Steve Jobs autobiography, I saw some deer that day. In retrospect, I guess I should be glad that I only saw creatures with four legs as opposed to creatures with no legs.

Back to race day. I had run this race once before. I had no expectations that time of winning an age group award nor did I this time. HOWEVER, there was a 5K and an 8K, so the 5K siphoned off some of the competitors in my age group. When I completed the 8K and put my card in the basket, I noticed that there was only one other card there. Usually with me that means I have finished so late that the cards have already been scooped up for awards compilation. But I hung around for awards because, really, these are the best people to hang around with in general anyway. After all, we had survived a snake infested course to come to this moment, right?

As the awards progressed, I heard the other woman whose card had been in my age group basket be called up as a Master’s winner. Hmmm…..that left my card. Which left (drum roll please) ME as the age group winner!

Eight kilometers, two documented snakes and one running idiot all added up to a race to remember.

-Paul Kiger
Idiot #422

Follow Paula on twitter @biggreenpen and check out her website —>  biggreenpen.com

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