Staring into the sun with my pre-race face, Todd snaps a picture of me while waiting for the 5k to start. (Photo taken by Todd Flores)
Todd preps himself while listening to music with his headphones being held up by his Axl Rose style bandana. (Photo taken by Daniel Hernandez)
My daughter Sofie ran the Youth 1k. She came in first place (she didn’t really come in first, but shhh! That’s what we told her.) (Photo taken by Maria Hernandez)
About two weeks ago, the Cal State Fullerton recreation center threw a festival called iCare, which included a 5k run.
After a hesitant response from most of my colleagues, I managed to convince a friend of mine, Todd, into running the race with me.
Although there is no official number as to how many people participated, I estimate somewhere in the range of about 300 joined in on the festivities.
But this did not stop us from posting a personal best time for the 3.10-mile distance run.
For my friend, breaking his personal best was easy. This was his first race. And although we don’t know his official time, we’re estimating he came in around 21:15 or so. This is a great time, especially for someone who has never ran the race before.
My goal in the race was to finish under 20 minutes, but I missed the mark by about 38 seconds. My time, as I saw it crossing the finish line, was 20:38.
Both of our finishes came in dramatic fashion.
As I was approaching the finish line, the sound of footsteps began to draw nearer. I began to change my stride to a sprint, when I saw a much younger, faster, sprinter blow by me.
The last second kick I spurred was too late. The young runner flew by me, and I had no chance of catching him. As a result, I’m pretty sure I finished the race in 4th or 5th place, according to my father who was watching the race.
As for my friends finish, I was able to watch it transpire, though I was still struggling to breathe.
His was a neck and neck battle till the end.
The crowd was cheering, and I could hear my dad’s raspy voice screaming his name. Todd’s blue bandana, holding his earphones, was soaked with sweat. His knee brace began to slip down to his shin as he began to run on his toes, swinging his arms rapidly, seemingly flexing every possible muscle in his body as he and his racing foe crossed the finish line.
Todd lost the battle by a nose. But he placed a great time, and the kick only helped his final results.
The race was a good time, and it sparked a much-needed competitive fire. But a race like this reminds me of what my grandfather used to tell me in his Cuban accent. “Look at you meng, running around the track like a race horse.”