Saturday, July 28, 2012

indpendence 5k 2012 + fireworks photography

So, the 2012 Independence 5K. I have to admit, I had nightmares about this race. Not that I didn't run well, but that I overslept or had the wrong time and missed it entirely. This run and Cotton Row are my favorites every year, and I'd be heartbroken if I missed either. I think I checked the start time and my phone alarm about a dozen times before going to sleep the night before the race!

The morning of the race started out hot and then just got hotter. Luckily running in the heat doesn't bother me, but I snapped a screenshot of the weather about 15 minutes before the race just for fun.

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Last year both Jake and Michelle (my cousins) ran the race with me, but this time around Jake was busy working that morning, mowing the grounds at their church, so it was just Michelle and I. We love running together, though, so we happily found some shade and stretched out while we waited for the fun to begin,

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Dad was on point with my camera this year, and he got some great shots at the start. There was a little problem with the timing system that delayed the race by 20 minutes or so, but after standing around and waiting (in the blazing sun), we were finally off!

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Note the man running with his wife in a racing wheelchair. I'll talk more about that later...for right now I'll just say that they were amazing!

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No, I don't have crazy arms, I was just trying to wave at Dad as I ran by. :)

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Michelle wasn't having the foot issues that she had last year, and she stayed ahead of me for most of the first half of the run. Mom was waiting at the halfway point with Dad's camera (yeah, we pretty much played musical cameras that day!) to grab photos of us as we came up to the turn-around.

Here's Michelle on the bridge just before crossing the street...

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...and here's me a bit behind her.

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Okay, so maybe these are crazy arms. I was yelling "hi" to Mom. :)

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I've said before that I love seeing photos of what went on back at the finish line while I was out running...even if those photos show this guy finishing the run about a minute after I passed the halfway mark. Ha!

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Speaking of halfway, it wasn't long after passing that point that I noticed a tall, skinny guy jogging up the opposite side of the greenway, yelling at Michelle and I. My heat-fried brain took a minute to process that it was actually Jake, who'd come over from the church to cheer us on! That was so very cool of him! And somehow, even wearing boots, he ran the rest of the way back to the finish line and beat us both there and was around to cheer us on at the end- crazy! I asked Jake later if he regretted not running, and he said yes. Maybe we'll get him back in next year.

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This finish is just amazingly inspirational, and they finished second in their division, too! I think we were all about to cry over this one.

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Somewhere going up the big nasty hill just after the halfway mark, I passed Michelle. I have no idea what got into me that day, but I ended up beating my Cotton Row time from just a month earlier by about 10-15 seconds!

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Michelle wasn't far behind me and finished about a minute faster than she did at the same race last year. Awesome job!

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I know I look like I'm doing some sort of weird and unusual dance, here. In reality I'd just high-fived Michelle on her way across the finish.

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Oh, and the temperature shortly after we finished the run? 93 degrees. Yes, it definitely got hotter!

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There was no air conditioning tent this year, so I had to cool down with my post-race snow cone by reclining under a tree.

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Tina had left for a few minutes to drive Jake back over to his mowing job, and on the way back she picked up drinks at Sonic for us. I don't think that a grape slush has ever tasted soooo good!

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And then the awards. Michelle was originally awarded second in her division, but after an error was discovered in the timing, it turned out that she actually won her age group!!!

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I took my customary third place, again. :)

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Oh, and while Dad was taking photos, the lady in charge of the race popped over and asked if he'd share them with her to use on the city's web site. Go, Dad!

We skipped coming back up to the park again later to browse the fair. Actually, in all honestly between recovering from the run and getting groceries to cook dinner later, we completely forgot to go back until later! Dad and I did try to take a trip up there in the evening, but everything was already closed down.

We still took fireworks photos, though, and made a picnic of it to boot! We broiled shrimp and packed up dinner, then joined many, many other tailgaters in the grocery store parking lot to watch the fireworks at the park (no way were were going to try to park and go to the stadium- the traffic is insane!). Dad and I did our usual round of photography and got some great shots- we've pretty much got fireworks down to a science at this point. :)

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And can you believe that's not all the fireworks photos that I have from this Independence Day? Darren and I went to the local display in Huntsville a few days later- I'll have those photos to share next weekend.