Saturday is a day off from school. During the busy weeks it's about the only day I have to work on the to-do list around the house. During the very busy weeks I don't even get that day.
Two Saturdays ago was a pretty full Saturday. Lander's Physical Science department hosted the annual Bearcat Breakout 5K race on campus. Last year I ran the race with one of my students. At least, we started at the same time and then I saw him again at the end after he dusted me. This year I tried to talk several of my students into running but only one agreed. So I got up early and drove to school and waited on Cessquatch to arrive.
While we waited for the race to begin we scoped out the competition. My goal was to win the "40 and up" male division like last year. I scanned the crowd for older people but I'm terrible with guessing people's age. I noted a couple of guys who seemed older and decided I had to try to beat them. And while that was my conscious thought, there was also a note from my unconscious mind that said, "the real goal here is to not die." Fair enough.
When the race began, Cessquatch, along with those two older dudes took off ahead of me like they'd been shot out of a cannon. It took me a quarter of a mile to catch Cessquatch and those two dudes just kept widening the gap between them and me. I felt like I was pushing myself pretty hard but they just kept moving ahead.
The course was different this year and it seemed to have more hills. The final part of the race was similar in that it was all uphill. I always feel like I'm dying at the end of the 3 miles so it's very tough for me to come up with any sort of extra push at the end. After the halfway point I started to gain some ground on the older guy closest to me. I passed a couple of college students which boosted my confidence and I kept gaining on the dude. As we approached the final uphill part, I had to try to beat that one guy so I ran as hard as I could. With maybe a tenth of a mile left, I passed him but I was afraid someone would come from nowhere and pass me too, so I had to keep sprinting as hard as I could. By the time I crossed the finish line my chest felt like it was going to explode. I felt great about beating that one guy but I also knew that I was sunk because I never even got close to that other older dude. Another 40+ guy had beat me this year.
She finished a couple of minutes faster than she did last fall in another 5K and ended up winning a $25 gift card in a drawing after the race. As they announced the various winners we joked about them calling our name and how shocked we'd be as we accepted our award. We practiced our Taylor Swift surprised award winning faces and laughed.
Literally, as we were joking about this they announced the overall 3rd place male winner and called my name. Believe me when I say I didn't have to try hard to look shocked. I was so focused on winning the old people division, I had no idea I was the 5th person to cross the finish line. That guy I passed ended up winning the 40 and up group. Turns out this was my best 5K time ever at 19:53. To celebrate, instead of going to Disneyworld, I drove home, had a banana and a huge cup of coffee and took a nap.
After the nap, we drove the other direction to Spartanburg to meet a bunch of Lander people for dinner at The Back Porch.
The dinner was preceding the reception and awards ceremony for the 2nd Annual Collegiate Invitational Art Exhibition at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters. That's Katertot, G, The Tavmanian Devil, Andrew, Cessquatch, Jim, Stacy and Sean in the photo.
Andrew's a live wire. And apparently he likes purses.
There's Sean with his graphic design entry.
Danielle with her Honorable Mention winning drawing.
Seth with his ceramic Raku tiger head sculpture.
Andrew posing with his graphic design and cool frame.
Mia, Queen of Sculpture, with her painting.
...and Cessquatch with a painting that looks like the face she makes 23 hours a day.
That's the crew listening to the juror's statement after Danielle and Sammantha Bailey both got Honorable Mention Awards.
This group is interesting to me. Last year this event became a thing and we met Danielle and Cessquatch for pizza before going to the reception. None of us can resist doughnuts so we made a quick Krispy Kreme run before heading home. This year we did the same and even though Cessquatch and Katie were not in the exhibit, they wanted to come support their friends. Or maybe they just wanted doughnuts. Perhaps both.
It's great how they all stick together. In the last 4 years I've taught those 4 students a total of 13 semesters. And Andrew was still in line buying doughnuts for his wife and kid when I made this photo, so throw him in there too and it's 16 semesters. They're all talented, smart and funny. It's going to be tough to see them graduate in two weeks.
And as for the Saturday to-do list, the grass did not get cut. Maybe next Saturday?