The Way It Went Down

Here’s The Way it Went Down

New Year’s Eve

I had been planning for over a month to run in the “Race into the New Year.”

I remembered how much fun it had been previously. Running along the river while it reflects the moonlight is a great feeling.

I remembered the comreaderie of fellow runners and seeing “Father Time” and the “Jester.”

I remembered sipping hot chocolate as we shivered in freezing temperatures, and eating black eyed peas and corn bread for good luck.

For days, I pondered what to wear to keep warm enough in 19 degree weather, yet not be over-dressed. Early in the day on New Year’s day, I set out my clothes–workout pants instead of running shorts and three shirts (1 sleevless, 1 short sleeved and one long sleeved), a jacket, gloves, and a neck scarf to cover my face.

That night I got all bundled up and headed out early toward the river. I was due to arrive at the race site right around 11:00 pm. When I arrived, there wasn’t a car in sight. It was an eerie feeling. I felt as though I had entered the “Twilight Zone.”

There I was, ready to run. I had the right mindset, I had on the right clothing, I was feeling strong, and I was ready to run in the cool, crisp air and race into the New Year.

I guess I didn’t look to see where the race was actually going to be held. I wasn’t going to give up that easily. So I decided to drive up and down Riverside and look for the crowd. I drove from 11th Street south all the way to 81st Street, to no avail.

Then I started thinking…

“Is it really New Year’s Eve? Do I have my dates right? Where can they be? I know it’s New Year’s Eve. It has to be New Year’s Eve. Maybe they’re running from the Runner’s World Store.”

Time was running out. I just had to find them. But where could they be? I headed over to Runner’s World and nobody was there either.

Then I heard all the noise from the Brookside New Year’s Eve Celebration. The thought came to me that “maybe, just maybe the race was being held in conjunction with the dropping of the New Year’s Eve ball.

But that wasn’t the case either. There wasn’t a runner in site.

Well…

I didn’t get to race into the New Year, but I did run into the New Year.

I parked my truck on Peoria in the Brookside area and started walking toward the sound of the voice on the speakers. I heard them say they were about to drop the ball and the entire crowd began the countdown, “10-9-8-7…” At that point I broke into a sprint. When they reached “1,” I turned around and continued to sprint back to my truck.

And so…

Of course, I missed the race. I was disappointed. Really Disappointed!

I have actually signed up for the “Race into the New Year” four times, but ran it only twice.

New Year’s Eve 2008, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until it was too late.

New Year’s Eve 2009, I went to the wrong place.

How did that happen?

Well, the two times that I ran it, the “Race into the New Year” was held at 41st Street and Riverside. It didn’t even dawn on me to double check the location. I thought it would be held in the same place as where I ran it before.

And so…

I went to 41st Street and Riverside.