The volunteers who worked the course at the inaugural Refuse to Abuse 5K at Safeco Field on Saturday were terrific in every way but one:
No fewer than four of them, each at a different location, encouraged me by saying “You’re almost there.”
Almost there? What exactly does that mean? I had no idea.
Because it means different things to different people, of course.
To me, almost there suggests I am at most a quarter-mile from the finish line. That’s the point at which I can try going into my kick, such as it is, and see just how much nausea I’ll need to endure before reaching the end.
At Safeco, I think I was at least three-quarters of a mile away the first time I was told almost there. At that point, I was just entering the bowels of the stadium and had no idea how far it was until we even reached the field itself, where the the race would finish after three-quarters of a lap on the warning track.
And I heard almost there at least three other times before actually returning to daylight on the field, at which point I finally did feel like I was almost there.
So I then tried to make like Ken Griffey Jr. scoring the series-winning run on Edgar Martinez’s double in the 1995 playoffs and sprinted, sort of, toward the finish just beyond third base down the left field line.
Since I’d felt fairly strong while running, I was kind of disappointed to have clocked 23:13 — 78 seconds slower than my PR — until I realized I’d come in 32nd out of 1,000 participants. I guess the course, which featured lots of hills, ramps and 180-degree turns as it toured Safeco and surrounding environs, including the parking garage, was just not a really fast one.
But that’s OK. It was still a highly enjoyable event, and everyone got a collection of giveaways that included discounts at the Pyramid Alehouse across the street from the ballpark. I don’t usually drink beer at 10:15 a.m., but I was willing to make an exception, figuring I’d earned it and, hey, it was 5 o’clock somewhere.
The best news, of course, is that 1,000 people — the maximum that race organizers wanted for their first attempt at the event — turned out, generating $30,000 from entry fees alone to use in the fight against domestic violence in Washington. The figure is likely much greater than than, since many runners did additional fundraising prior to the race.
Anyway, all in all it was a fantastic event, and my sincere thanks to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Seattle Mariners, Pyramid and all of the other sponsors for doing such a great job putting it together.
And now, today’s mitt installment: