As this was not an official F3 Gastonia event, I was not sure how to proceed with a full Back Blast but here goes. Thanks to the work of Freight and Rudolph, there had been much discussion and planning for F3 Gastonia to participate in the Community Foundation Run. Turns out there was more to this day than just a 5k Run.
We started with a little pre-race get together just in front of the Rotary Pavilion. There was the typical mumble chatter, a little stretching, etc. I am not sure of the exact time but there was a group of YMCA line dancers (?) doing some work when Hot For Teacher spotted one of the dancers had collapsed and seemed to be in distress. Luckily for him, there were a large number of law enforcement and EMS personnel very close. However, his best luck was probably the fact that Whoopee was so close. Whoopee (#HIM) immediately responded to the situation and directed and participated in the care of this man and frankly, his revival. I am sure there are details that I missed as my adrenaline was pumping and I was in awe at what I was witnessing. One of our own F3 Leaders was using his skill, training and humanity to take care of this gentlemen’s needs, which at that moment were life-threatening. No joke. When he left in the ambulance, I do not think his prognosis was really known. We found out later that he was at the hospital, alert and talking. There were several events that had to take place to put the PAX right at that spot at that moment. I do not believe it was a coincidence that Whoopee was placed there when needed. At Sunday School yesterday, my class was asked if anyone had experienced what they would describe as a “God Moment” recently. I could not keep from describing the scene from Saturday morning. It was quite a site.
We still had a race to run. It felt strange trying to transition to the starting line.
After we all regained our composure (as much as we could), we started to make our way to the start line. Pizza Man stopped at the sign that read “6 Minute Mile”. The remaining PAX moved on farther from the start line. We spent several minutes waiting, shared some good mumble chatter and YHC shared a moment from the very first Run for the Money 5k that I ran 8 – 9 years ago. As I made the last turn and started up South St I felt like I was maintaining a nice pace. A few hundred yards up the hill, a woman pushing a TWO-KID stroller blew past me and kept it up until the finish. Needless to say that did not do much for my self-esteem and made me question my training regiment.
The gun sounded and we were off. Not far after the start, YHC made a comment that I just wasn’t ready mentally for the start and Whoopee chastised me (deservedly so) and asked if I needed a hug. I said no (got over my SV moment) and we forged ahead. For some reason, I paced myself with Whoopee for almost the entire 5k. Normally I would not be able to keep up with him but for some reason, I pushed myself to. Maybe it was because I wanted to have him beside me if I collapsed during the race or maybe I just wanted to be close to someone who had just saved a life or maybe I felt he was shook up a little from the event, not sure. It was not planned but that’s how it happened.
We set out at a relatively good pace for me along with Rudolph, Roscoe (until he pushed ahead) and JK2. The other PAX were spread out, some in front of us and some behind. It was a great representation for the group. We shared some good mumble chatter and even had to laugh as 10 year olds (or younger) were passing us. About the time we hit the first significant hill, I heard someone say (I think it was Whoopee), “We need to run more.” I couldn’t respond as I was unable to catch my breath.
All the PAX plus some 2.0’s finished the race in proud fashion. It was a great event and I was proud to be in a crowd of thousands sporting my F3 Gear. We shared some congrats before some of us headed for part 2 at the Community Garden.
From downtown, we made our way to the Community Garden to push some gravel as opposed to pushing the rock. It seemed harmless enough but it did not take long to come to terms with my age after shoveling gravel into wheel barrels and then moving the gravel to the appropriate dump area. I must admit that I was impressed to see Spiderman doing sprints with his full load of gravel. I was definitely more sore from the Garden work than from the Run.
I was able to reflect later on the day and realized how these events had allowed us to experience all three F’s in a grand manner. The Community Foundation is an organization that supports our Community in big ways and their Run is the biggest one day event in the County in terms of raising money for local non-profits. We were able to add to that. We witnessed what I called a “God Moment” (3rd F?) as Whoopee and others jumped in to save a life. We then served the Community in fellowship at the Garden (2nd F). The fact is the entire event was all 2nd F and it was great. And of course, the 5K Run and moving gravel were both great 1st F workouts.
During the morning, I had several persons ask me about my shirt and what F3 was. I found myself talking very proudly about my association and how the group has helped me personally over the last year. I also must say that I have ran that 5k 4 – 5 times over the last 9 – 10 years and this was my best time yet. This is also not a coincidence as I look back at what I have done over the past year with all of you guys.
Thanks for making a difference and working to “reinvigorate male community leadership” in Gaston County as F3’s Mission States.
Until the next workout or event. Aye!