The highlight of the Fort Myers road racing season takes place in February. It's a 5K that starts about a half hour before sunset traversing the parade route for the Edison Festival of Lights Parade. The cool part is that the entire course is three to four deep with people waiting for the parade to begin.
Tonight marked my first time in four years running this super fun race. Injuries and a short lived job transplant kept me away from the Edison contest while the Czarina has run it pretty much every year. As I warmed up I chuckled to myself thinking how my friends around Kansas City would be cursing me for thinking that it was too warm at 70 degrees. The day before it had been a perfect 60 at the same time so I was hoping for a repeat.
About 1500 runners toed the line and the start was one of the worst I've endured. Way too many slowpokes had crowded up front. I was about 10 feet behind the start line. It was like roller derby for the first 500 yards, I'm surprised no one went down. The Czarina who was lined up about five feet behind me said it was just as bad for her. I was passing all manner of 10 and 12 year olds, 40 plus dudes who overestimated their abilities and a ton of seniors who were in front of me including one 70 year old woman who decided to place herself directly in front of me. I almost bowled her over in the first 200.
I was hoping to run 22:30 but a cold that I picked up two weeks ago put those ambitions aside. I got through the first mile in 7:14 and spent the next mile picking off a lot of folks who thought too highly of their fitness. Much to my surprise with just a little more than a half mile to go a squad of senior grand masters (guys over 60) went rolling by me racing their asses off. I latched onto the back of the group and followed them to the finish in 22:58. The poor Czarina, having picked up my cold this week, finished in 25:14, about a minute slower than what she's capable of right now. Despite her time she still picked up an age group award finishing 2nd.
This brings us to the post race festivities, usually a high point at the Edison race. The Fort Myers Track Club offers free pizza and beer to the runners starting about an hour after the gun fires. As the Czarina and I wandered over to the big tent following our warm down run we noticed a huge line. The pizza wasn't there and didn't show up for another hour. Much to my displease the FMTC decided to make everyone wait for the pizza instead of handing out the awards which were ready to go at 7 p.m. We didn't leave until 9 p.m. It put a damper on an otherwise excellent evening.