An Irish Cattle Call


I did my first 5K race in maybe a couple of years. It was the St Patrick’s Day Dash.

It was kind of a zoo. I’m guessing that, counting all waves, there might have been 10,000 walkers and runners. My wave alone probably had a couple of thousand.

It took me close to a minute to clear the start line after the horn sounded. I was essentially fighting the crowd the entire way. I’ve been in races before that start like that, but eventually the crowd thins out and you can get some spacing to go at a normal pace. Since this race was in downtown Seattle, they wanted to understandably minimize street closures, so they only closed one street.  It was very close to an out and back kind of route. Therefore, for much of the race, instead of an entire street to run on, you were faced with a half a street. It made for a very congested race. No PR this time! In fact, the pace was so constrained that I was barely out of breath at the finish. Perhaps not a horrible race to run after such a long layoff.

Just before the start of the race, the announcer made a comment that, for the seventh year in a row, it had not rained. Immediately after the words left his mouth, drops started falling. By the end of the race, it was raining pretty heavily.

Also, that’s a lie. I ran the race in 2010, I believe. It was snowing! In March! In Seattle! I still remember being shocked by that. I guess that snow does not count as rain?

It still was not as bad as the Jingle Bell run I did some time back where it was spitting sideways rain in freezing rain.

Today, it was a little cold (somewhere in the 40’s) but it felt fine running.

At one point, in a minor blow to my pride, I was passed by a blind runner. She had two people running with her on very short leads. As she passed (she was moving at a pretty good pace), they would announce / gently tap on the runner in front of them to get clearance.

This reminded me of King John of Bohemia, from the 14th century. He was one of the great warrior kings. At one point, he became blind. That did not stop his warrior ways. His guard would lash themselves to him (OK, actually to his horse, but not such a good visual) and would then lead him into battle. That is a great mental picture. Some blind guy being led into battle, wielding his sword or battleaxe, as his guard both tries to protect him and probably stay out of his way.

He died at Crecy (that great French disaster of the hundred year war). At the place that he died, his guards were also all dead around him, still lashed to him.

I guess he gets credit for dying while doing what he loved.


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