Saturday, May 02, 2009

2009 University City 5K

I woke up at my usual time, about 5:30. No one was stirring, they had no need to. Sharon’s race wasn’t until 11; we planned to leave around 9:30 or so to give us plenty of time to get over the bridge, parked in University City and checked-in without have to rush or scramble.

I goofed around for a little while, before Sharon came down at 7 or so. I put some coffee on while she and I chatted and waited for the other two girls to come down, which they did in short order. The skies were still grey, but the light drizzle I woke up to had stopped for the time being.

Breakfast was waffles and peanut butter, with coffee and plenty of water [in case the beer and wine last night left our runner dehydrated]. After everyone showered and dressed, D’Kid hung out with my cousin as she warmed up and stretched a little in her room. I offered some advice on other moves she could use to limber up, with great success.

It was humid and cool, but not so much that Shar would need to run with an extra T-shirt over her long-sleeved tech shirt, so we left that home.

We loaded up [D’Kid brought plenty of things to keep herself busy – i.e., her new set of colored pencils and a sketchbook given to her by a new favorite family member] and took off right on time.

I took no time at all to get to Drexel – even with the detour from South Street due to reconstruction of the South Street Bridge. I found the specified lot and parked [for FREE] right around the corner from the staging area. A slight mist was falling, but nothing worth getting an umbrella out for … In fact, I don’t even know if we brought any?

We found the tables and checked in. Even though I wasn’t running, I still picked my packet and got a T-shirt – #140. Sharon received #67, which pleased her to no end since she was born in 1967. A little more stretching, some observances of the crowd:

  1. Super-skinny people should NOT get tattoos; especially not angel’s wings on your back if you have little chicken shoulders
  2. Engineers and engineering students always stick out in a crowd

‘Not too many women her age around,’ I thought, ‘she could win something here’

A sign posted quickly revealed that the race course had been changed at the last minute; not a big deal really, but she wouldn’t get to run along the Schuylkill as we had anticipated.

A passing shower sent us inside, were Sharon made some final adjustments. D’Wife. D’Kid and I set up camp in the corridor connecting Drexel’s Science buildings. Before long, people started to move to the starting line, and we escorted my cousin [now wearing a stylish pink bandana, much like my coach does] to her place in the crowd. The whole pack wasn’t very big at all; maybe 250 runners, or so?

I was really liking the odds here.

A POP! of the pistol and they were off.

D’Girls and I returned inside. As I opened the door, I noticed a plaque on the ground commemorating the dedication of the building we were using.


Barely fifteen minutes had passed when the flashing lights of the police escort rolled by, and the race’s winner right behind … The skinny guy with Icarus wings, wouldn’t you know? We hoped that my cousin would break 30 minutes, so after a few more people came in, we moved out to the street.

It was quite some time before the women’s winner came by. Now we were looking out for women about 40 to come by so we could guesstimate whether we had a medal winner in the house. Looking up Chestnut Street to 32nd we peeled our eyes for the pink bandana.

A flash! I see one! Is it her? … She was screened by first the guy next to her and then by trees and parked cars as she turned the corner. I saw the long white sleeves and knew it was her. I turned to look at the clock.

27-Something?!!! Her goal was in the bag!!!

She flew by, bright and confident, and rushed on through the finish.


We met up and hugs were much in demand, and shared with pride and exuberance.

“I think you won something, Cuz!” I congratulated her, “I didn’t see many women ahead of you at all!”

"Thanks, Coach!!! Do you think so??? I know I beat a bunch of college kids!!!"

After cooling down, grabbing some water and snacks, and redressing into her sweats, we went in search of the results table. Volunteers, being notorious for being of little help, failed to disappoint. After asking more than a few runnerly looking folks we found or way to the Athletic Center or DAC as they called it.

Oh, wait? This was the Alumni Picnic … No worries, the race website specifically said: “Following the Run, join us in the Drexel Quad for our outdoor ceremony and the
Drexel University Alumni Family Picnic. The Family Picnic will be held from noon to 2 p.m. with food and family fun, including games, activities and prizes for kids and parents alike.”

We got our tickets and went in. We waited on line for a while for our hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and iced tea, then sat down to wait for the awards ceremony.

They proceeded pretty quickly, so the wait was not long. After the Men’s 30-39 Age Group was announced, with listened intently.

“Women Age 40 to 49 … First place, Marlena Buckley; Second place, Sharon Fasciani; Third place, Jackie Carrera”

Bursting with pride and maybe a little bit of surprise, my cousin scooted up from the table to receive her award, a big silver medal.


“I told ya, Cuz!” I reminded her with a great big hug. We then left the picnic to the legitimate alumni and headed back to Jersey.

It wasn’t long before our award winner was napping.

After church, a simple dinner of chicken, pasta, and broccoli, a little bit more beer, wine [mostly water for me], chit-chat, Facebook bragging and so on, we all turned in early.

As big as today was, tomorrow would be even bigger.

Next: 2009 Broad Street Run

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