I've never been in a race. I don't jog. In fact, I would never consider running unless something terrible was chasing me. But ... I can walk pretty darn fast ... at least I can on my treadmill.
So, at last month's Congaree Vista Guild meeting a representative from the Stephen Stiller Tunnels to Tower 5K race gave a brief talk. He was encouraging the neighborhood to participate while informing everyone about the street closings for Friday, September 19th. The event honors our military and first responders who have sacrificed in the line of duty. It was an impressive presentation, the sort that brings tears to the eyes. My friend Mary Langston and I challenged one another to sign up. Neither of us had ever been in a race. Thus, we considered ourselves "virgins"(at least that's what we told our husbands! LOL!)
(Above: Andrea manning her tailgate vendor's booth outside the Ohio State game!)
Of course, I needed a new outfit! There's no way on earth I want anyone to see me in public wearing the rags I wear on my treadmill! No problem! A couple of weeks ago while visiting Columbus, Ohio, I bought a pair of Ohio State shorts and then found the PERFECT BLOCK "O" t-shirt from Cool Tie Dye!
The race fell on the day after my installation, Threads: Gathering My Thoughts opened. Thus, I was manning the exhibit on Friday, changed into my new outfit inside my studio, and tried to calm my nerves by making a fiber vessel.
This is Mary Langston and me before the race. We did not walk together. Although nervous about walking outside, on pavement, in front of people, etc., I knew I wanted to walk fast ... as fast as I could.
Steve took my camera up to the top of a nearby parking garage and shot a few photos. Mary and I are down in the crowd below. In the foreground is one of the army units from Fort Jackson. There were over 3000 soldiers participating in this race ... making it the second largest race in the organization, right after the race in New York City.
Before the race started, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter and several other dignitaries spoke to the crowd. Then ... off went the runners. Next went the 3000 soldiers.
I waited ...
... until the signal went off for the walkers. Lots of walkers started before the signal. Many tried walking, then jogging, and walking again. Dozens of firefighters were attempting the 5K in full gear. I passed most of them. I told people I wanted to finish in under an hour. Secretly, I was hoping for 45 minutes!
Part of the reason I was excited was the chance to walk over both the Blossom Street and Gervais Street bridges. I've lived in Columbia for over 26 years. I've driven over both countless times. They are both within two or so miles of my house, but I've never walked over either. Steve waited ... staring down Gervais Street toward the bridge.
The runners and the army came after the sunset.
But I was among the first of the walkers to arrive! Forty-two minutes! I my never do this again but I'm glad I did it on Friday! Super exciting!