Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cobden Peach Festival 5-K Race Report

Has anyone noticed that I can be somewhat of a race junkie? Just wondering. We had another early morning today. We left around 5:30 a.m. for Cobden, IL for the Peach Festival 5-K. Cobden is a small town of around 1100 in Southern Illinois about 15 miles south of Carbondale.

Part of Cobden's claim to fame is very evident by the continued recognition of their 1964 high school basketball team. This team which was known as the Amazing Appleknockers was a finalist in the state basketball playoffs. They finished second losing to Pekin in a heartbreaker 50 to 45. We snapped a picture with the sign honoring this team at the entrance to the city park. Check out the website to see the real picture and to learn more about the team. Its actually a pretty cool website.

The sign and the website definitely give you the feel of a different time period in our country. It most certainly has a Hoosiers feel about it but we were in town about four hours and I didn't see Gene Hackman or Jimmy Chitwood any where around. I do have a feeling that this team maybe did run the Picket Fence and maybe even the Swinging Gate though.

Finally to the race itself. I had already decided to have some fun with this one. In the past (in times of better fitness), I have been known to go out and run with the rabbits at the front of the group just to see how long I can hang on. Its maybe only for a half mile or so but its still really fun!! I just kind of throw caution and the thought of "negative splits" into the wind and take off.

I kind of had that in mind today but didn't pay close enough attention at the start of the race and managed to get myself boxed in. It was Steve Prefontaine all over again.

Like I said, I was boxed in at the beginning which slowed down the first 300 or 400 meters, really not that far. I hit the one mile mark at 8:02. The race course seemed flat but was run for the most part either going slightly uphill or slightly downhill. Nothing drastic. Mile two was completed in 8:50. I meant to back off a little but not quite that much. I ran the last 1.1 miles in 9:42 which isn't blazing but is better than the 10:12 I ran at the Homecomer's 5-K last week.

Overall, my time was 26:35 (8:35 pace) and was good for a third place medal in the Men's 45-49 age group. I'm pretty pleased except for the fact that I think the top two guys in my age group were fairly close in front of me. They caught me on mile two and slowly pulled away. In general, I'm pretty tickled with my effort. My weight is lousy but my feet feel great so I guess you have to take what you can get. I had a great training week which I will blog about later and overall just feel pretty solid about where things stand.

Other Thoughts for the Day:
****We were stopped on the way there by a guy with very long gray/white hair, and a very long gray/white beard, wearing a tye-dyed shirt. (Jerry Garcia??) We thought there had been a wreck. Two or three cars were pulled over and a car was in the ditch. Jerry greeted us with the question, "HEY, WOULD YOU HELP US PUSH THESE GUYS OUT OF THE DITCH SO THEY WON'T GET IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW?" I was wearing my Spenco sandals and only had my race shoes with me. Any suggestions as to how to say NO nicely?

****At the last few races in Southern Illinois, an older gentleman who is one of my favorites has been missing. Mr. Stinson is 75 years old and had quadruple bypass 6 weeks ago. Today, he made his way back to his favorite hobby by walking the 5-K. He received a big round of applause when his name was called to receive his second place medal. Welcome back Charles!! It was awesome to see your return.

**** This last thought is both difficult and inspiring. The race course made a left turn out of the park and headed out of town past a cemetary. After the turn around, on the way back into town, I noticed a tombstone with the name Walker on it. As I got closer, I could read the first name. I then figured out that this was the gravestone of a teacher with whom I had taught with for 3 years at the start of my career. She passed away a few years back of an illness of which I'm not familiar with. She was somewhere around my age. I knew that she had passed away but had NO idea of where she was buried. It was so weird to stumble on to her burial site in the middle of a race. We had actually shared an office at one point.

I spent the next mile and a half thinking back to my first few years of teaching and to the faculty that I worked with during that time. There have been 4 members of this group to pass away up to this point. It brought on a very sad feeling during the race but also a special determination to keep plodding forward, one step at at time, gathering race shirts and occasional bling, while living life to the fullest, and being the best husband, father, teacher, and friend possible.

Best wishes to all. Thanks for reading.


  1. That is so sad about your colleague. And yes it must have spurred you on to run for her. It does make you look at life differently. It makes you want to take on every opportunity that comes your way.

  2. Hey! Great job at the 5k! I think seeing your friend's grave was a good omen!

  3. Nice 5K! amazing find on the grave ...

  4. NICE work on the 5K! I always wish that they would make people write their age on their calves like they do in Tri's. That way I would know who I needed to beat!

    I literally laughed out loud at pulling people out of the ditch. Seems like home!