I've mentioned on several occasions how much I love life on the U of FL campus. Last night was no exception, as I was part of the Midnight Fun Run 5K for the second consecutive year.
This event has traction. Last year it pulled about 400 runners - this year, over 800. It's good to see students investing their late night hours in fitness endeavors. What a stark contrast to events I saw only minutes before on University Avenue, when I stopped at the Swamp for a couple of beers before the run.
I toed off near the back of the pack, actually visiting with a student under the "walkers" sign. But my old guns started to fire on the downhill start and the rusty locomotive picked up steam.
Let's summarize and say the student body as a whole - at least those at this event - doesnt know shamrocks from shinola about pacing. They bust out of the gate like purebreds, then expire about 1000 yards later.
And here's a good one; when they tire, they stop. Cold. Right in the running line. I tripped over two girls in revealing sprinters outfits but held my tongue. Master competitor was on a mission. So it went, minute after minute. Carving through hundreds of undergrads like a hot knife through butter. I took the last uphill climb, gave out a few "attaboys" as I passed the final gaggle, and finished with a 24:59 (on my watch, no timing at a "fun run"). Since it took me almost a minute to get to the start line, the old man ran sub 8's...hey, I'll take that in my current state of being.
The race didn't end there, as I never dropped cadence until I was well into the U of FL cafeteria. The school throws open its main feeding trough for an all-you-can-eat frenzy. Nothing like gobbling grits, pancakes, eggs and Jello cups at 1 am.
Life can be so good when it's simple. What a great time to embrace and enjoy the moment.