Seeing the weekend weather forecast favorable for running, I, only two nights prior to the event, registered for the Viking Dash Half Marathon, held in Fairburn, Georgia, just over 20 miles southwest of Atlanta, on Halloween 2020. I parked my car a quarter of a mile downhill from packet pickup and the starting line and, first walking up through the wet grass route, utterly soaked my only socks and sneakers, not to mention having to walk up, down, and back up right before the run already irritated me for the possibility of unnecessarily wearing myself out. The organizers dealt with confusions with the bibs of those who signed up relatively late, and a cordial lady handing out the bibs initially told me my bib number of 1499, which I knew from the race email, had been given away to someone else and I had to be assigned a new number, which immediately triggered my OCD: “What if my time gets registered to someone else?” Minutes later, the director told her all participants needed their original numbers from the email, after which she gave me my original bib, which she herself was wearing under her sweater for whatever reason.
For COVID-19 precautionary measures, every runner was separated about 15 seconds from the next, like a time trial. The race took place in Bouckaert Farm, which resembled a typical cross country course that consists of grass, pebble, typical trails, and hills, in other words, not a fast course. Regardless, I enjoyed overcoming a variety of surfaces for versatility, but aware carelessness could result in rolling my ankles and my right foot to be less than 100% since mid-2019, I focused much of my attention on the placement of my feet especially on the pebble. Towards the end of each of the two loops stood a colossal uphill that stretched about a quarter of a mile, which only moderately affected me the first time but turned me into a tortoise pretending to run with an exaggerated motion, switching gears to be more exact, the second time. My official time reads 1:58:34.3, sufficient for second place in my age group of 30-39. All factors considered, I am content with a sub-2:00:00 half marathon here. The race website states “top 3 in each age group earn a qualifying spot” for the National Championships in Selma, Indiana, on June 19, 2021, so I guess that includes me. Being a national qualifier in anything sounds humbling, but I doubt I will travel that far for a 13.1-mile run.