So today was another 5K event for me. This was the 4th Annual “Rails Rally” which registration fees support the Lincoln Park Schools Education Foundation.
This is the third year I registered for this event, but only the second time I participated. The first time, in 2017, it was my first 5K. Last year I was ready to leave the house and it began to rain, so I went back inside and did not attend. I later discovered that the rain stopped, it dried up and the event proceeded as scheduled. Grrrr. I was still in my I-don’t-wanna-walk-in-the-rain–ever-mode and have since taken steps to abandon that mindset as you all know.
This course began at my favorite stomping grounds, went through a residential area and the last portion was on the Park perimeter path.
Just as I do every day, I walked to Council Point Park from home, thus adding another two miles for that round trip to my steps tally. I got my packet and had 15 minutes to spare.
The Superintendent of Lincoln Park Schools, Terry Dangerfield, announced when it was almost race time, so everyone began migrating over to the starting point.
He told us there were 233 registered runners/walkers for this event, but there might have been additional last-minute people who signed up today as well. Everyone assembled, runners up front and I took a quick photo, then scurried to the back of the queue.
I spotted a little chalk art on the path where we were awaiting the horn that kicked off the event. As you probably guessed, “LP” signifies “Lincoln Park”.
You sure couldn’t miss the enthusiasm of these local elementary school students. Their tee-shirts designate them as belonging to the “Carr School Running Club” and they all took off at lightning speed when the event began.
And then we were off …
… running and walking along the perimeter of the parking lot, the Superintendent and Mayor Tom Karnes sprinting to the front of the pack (behind those speed demon Carr School kids of course!)
We next headed into the residential neighborhood and dogs barked noisily and homeowners along the way greeted us with a wave or shouted out “good job!”
As usual, in order to capture some photos of the ambiance of the event for this blog post, I soon lagged behind and found myself at the tail end … well, not quite THE tail end, as bringing up the rear was one of Lincoln Park’s finest.
When the race began, there were high clouds so it was not too warmish. But the sun came out and walking on the concrete in the streets and through the neighborhoods, with my race shirt over another shirt, I did begin to get a little warm. I was looking forward to hopping onto loop #1 of the perimeter path at Council Point Park and enjoying a little shade from all the trees.
But first, we had to pass the first water station and endure the second loop, which has very few trees.
The perimeter path sure was different with 200+ folks on it.
People probably stopped to check out the new graffiti.
I brought along peanuts, intending to feed my pals along the way. The last time I walked this event, Parker and pals stopped me in my tracks, so why would this time be any different? Well, first of all, we did not get back to the Park until around 9:30, so the regular walkers who feed the squirrels would have already treated them.
So, instead of begging for peanuts from me, the squirrels were just content to nosh nuts and watch the parade of people rushing past them.
Other squirrels climbed to the best viewing point they could find to check out the action. They were mesmerized, like this little guy.
I didn’t see any geese or goslings but I understand that one family was present and accounted for – the majority of them likely headed to the water with their offspring when the first runners showed up on their turf.
This Starling, high up on the chain link fence decided he could fly as fast as the first fleet-foot runner, so off he went.
Since my aim was not to win any record in this event, there was plenty of time to stop and smell the roses, er, … at least look at the little dabs of purple around the Park.
Or one of many mushrooms …
… or inhale deeply as I passed the pine trees, where ripening pine cones were dripping with resin and new pine needles were emitting a smell in the moist morning air that reminded me of Christmas trees.
The air was filled with cottonwood seeds floating around. This phenomenon always happens in early June, and lasts a couple of weeks here in SE Michigan. Everywhere you look are white, fuzzy fibers that drift around lazily until they land somewhere. It was quite windy at the Park yesterday and I came home with white fuzzies in my hair.
Look how the seed fibers have collected along the sides of the path, outlining the edge in white.
The cottonwood fuzzies are even embedded in last year’s dead leaves.
And, in the Creek, at a glance it appears like cotton balls are dotting the surface of the water.
The Hare and the Tortoise.
Now it is time to introduce some fine folks I met at today’s event – Stuart and Laura. Stuart and I were at the tail end of this run/walk from the very beginning and we were joking about being so far behind. You know I love chattin’ it up with people, so Stuart and I made our introductions, then we meandered amicably along. Stuart told me this was his first 5K and that his daughter-in-law, Laura, was running in this event, and would catch up with him and walk the two Park loops as he finished off the race.
After traveling through the ‘hood on the first leg of our journey, once we reached the Park entrance, Laura, true to her word, was standing there and ready to walk the remaining portion with her father-in-law. She had already finished the 5K in 32 minutes. The three of us visited as we walked along, crossed the parking lot once again, then strolled along the two loops (the remaining 1.9 miles).
With the finish line in sight, it’s always fun for the walkers to break into a little run as you near the end of the race. Stuart crossed and got his finisher medal, a little bling to celebrate his very first 5K and this picture will help memorialize it as well.
I crossed a few seconds later and just captured my time in this image directly above.
I got my medal and wanted to get a few more steps in so I went back onto the path to feed the squirrels as I knew they’d be out foraging once the crowd dispersed to the pavilion for snacks, water and kudos from friends and family.
This was the first bunny I’ve seen in the Park or the neighborhood in months, but there he was, this tiny soul nibbling on the tall grass, his pale pink ears translucent in the morning sun.
What a cutie pie he was and I took quite a few photos of him before he hopped away.
At the cement landing, the turtles were once again basking in the sun … you can see the cottonwood fuzz on the water.
You can also see how high the water level is … this is a storm drain, covered with a cement ledge. I have often stood on the ledge to take pictures downstream. It is now almost submerged and it’s easy for the turtles to just slide right into the Creek. The big turtle did just that and the smaller one remained.
As I left to head home, I caught up with Stuart, his wife and Laura, so I paused to take a picture of Stuart and Laura with their medals.
It was nice meeting you both and I hope you will visit this blog post tonight. While walking home, it was not lost on me that the last two critters I photographed were a turtle and a bunny. My mind wandered as I thought of the old fable about the tortoise and the hare. Laura sure was as fast as a hare and Stuart and I were the tortoises … but we all finished and helped fund a worthy endeavor.
[Map of event course courtesy of Lincoln Park Schools Education Foundation]