Have you heard about Haiti?

This morning I woke long before my usual Saturday time, and ventured forth into the tundra. I almost crawled back into bed when I saw that it was 28 degrees (F) outside. But, I perservered, and headed out to Keeneland for the “Have You Heard About Haiti” 5K run, organized by the Episcopal Dioscese of Lexington.

The race started at 9, and I had a pretty good start, followed by a realization that I had started to fast, and there was no way I could maintain that pace for more than a half mile. If that.

After about a mile, I thought I was going to die.Terrible cramps. It was getting hard to believe that I used to win these things almost every weekend. Of course, that was almost 20 years ago.

There was a boy there, about 10 or 11, who passed me pretty early on. I used to be that kid. And there was a girl there about the same age. When I used to be that boy, that girl used to be named Michelle Jernigan. She was at every race I ever ran, and she always finished ahead of me. It got to the point where my goal for those races was to beat Michelle, since I already figured I was going to win my own category. I don’t think I ever did beat her. I wonder if she got old and out of shape like me.

So, I finally finished, a mere 6 minutes slower than my worst time *ever*. (27:57, for the record.) It took me at least 10 minutes just sitting in the car before I could breathe normally without feeling like I was going to yarf all over the place. I walked around a little, ate a banana in teensy bites, and had some water to drink.

Since it was a walk as well as a run, it took about another 30 minutes for everyone to come in. And I was starting to get pretty cold, so I had just decided to go ahead and leave when the awards started. It came as a complete surprise to discover that all the other men my age have also allowed themselves to get old and out of shape. I placed second in my age group (the “old and bitter” age group).

Who knows, maybe I could actually get back into decent shape, get my mile back under 7 minutes, and win myself a trophy or two. Or … not.