THE CRITZ TYBEE RUN FEST
I started training up January 1. Actually, it was January 2, since January 1 was more of a recovery day from the night before, if you know what I mean. Honestly, the jeans weren’t fitting too great after the holidays, so I needed a little exercise motivation and I made the 5k just that motivation. It wasn’t pretty at first. There were some rough days where I was doing nothing more than a glorified walk-shuffle-type-thing more than a run. But, little by little, I got there and was able to do my three miles without feeling like I was going to die or hurl one. I’m not saying it was fast, not even saying that, but I’ve come to accept that my body was built for comfort, not speed. And I’m cool with that. When it comes to being comfortable, I win Gold every time.
The evening of the run dawned cold and clear, perfect running weather, and I was ready. My kid took his place with the other show-offs at the front of the gate and I took my place with all the cool kids at the back. The buzzer sounded and the cool kids and I started our easy jog down the road. It was actually way more fun than I thought it would be. How often does one have the chance to run at sunset through the streets of Tybee? But then I hit mile 1 and got seriously angry: Would the race ever end? By mile 2, I felt I had run the entire state of Georgia. Once I saw the lighthouse, I knew my pain was nearly over and yet, it felt like ages until I saw the finish line. I was exhausted and a little pissed, vowing I would never do another 5k again. Then, they announced my name and I crossed the line, a huge smile on my face and said to my son (who’d been done for a good seventeen minutes), “That was so much fun!”
Beer in hand, bowl of gumbo balanced atop, I realized they were right—Run and Fest do belong together. We gathered for the awards and I was more than a little obnoxious when they announced my son had won first place in his age group despite taking a wrong turn late in the race and having to backtrack some. I so love experiencing the best part of parenting—living vicariously through one’s children. The chill of the night starting to seep into our sweat soaked bodies, we made our way home, already planning next year’s race.
But the fun wasn’t over yet! Oh no. The next day brought the majority of the fest with the 10k, half marathon, beach run, and 1 miler. Some crazy fools were participating in all five races to total a marathon. Who are these people? I get annoyed when I have to walk the length of my driveway to check the mail. I awoke early the next day, careful not to disturb anyone in the house and packed, preparing for the day’s events—beach chair, blanket, bagel, coffee, Bloody Mary, backup Bloody Mary—and sat at the end of the driveway on Miller Avenue, cheering on the rock star runners out proving they can do hard things. I yelled encouragement, I high-fived, maybe I even gave someone a shot of whiskey. If you’ve got the right supplies, running is an exciting spectator sport.
This is an event not to be missed! Make sure you make it to one, two, or all five races next year and look out for me and my Bloody Mary, feeling inspired by all you people unafraid to push yourself to the limits.