I made it.
Without oxygen, a stretcher or a hearse.
I survived the Depot Dash.
And I didn't finish in last place. Those who finished behind me will remain anonymous, saving them from the embarrassment. (Actually, I think I've already publicly embarrassed a few of them enough.)
It took me nearly 45 minutes -- 45 cold minutes, might I add -- Saturday to finish the meandering route. The Dash winner, by the way, finished in less than half that time. I think he hitchhiked a ride somewhere in Westview Cemetery, but that's just a rumor.
I did run some Saturday morning. Twice. I rumbled about 200 yards at the start of the race and bumbled about 200 yards at the end of the race, just so it would seem like I had run the entire way to some observers. They knew better. After all, I think a few moms with strollers pushed across the finish lines long before I did.
I think my performance was still respectable, even if it was painful. My shins still hurt. My knee was swollen, and I'm still not sure how I was able to get out of bed Sunday. I hobbled around taking pictures of part of the parade Sunday, but all that's OK. At least I made the effort.
I should have stopped along the way and knocked on doors. If I'm out there whining my way around the 3.1-mile course, everyone else could have been out there. All they needed was a little morning motivation.
With that in mind, I'd like to thank a few people who motivated me to make my Dash -- OK, my mosey -- possible.
First, my wife, Miriam. She encouraged me to walk in preparation for the race, and walked with me step for step Saturday morning. I really couldn't have made the trek without her.
Second, the various people who offered their kind words of support before and during the race. Especially those who offered pizza, oxygen, water and rides Saturday.
Finally, I have to thank Pete, Randle and the rest of the crew at Huddle House. You don't get in the shape I'm in without help, and they're always more than ready to serve. (More bacon on my Huddle Burger please.)
All that said, I'm very happy with the way the entire weekend turned out.
The Mirror was one of the main sponsors of Saturday's festivities, and I was in on the planning of the event from fairly close to the beginning. I think I can safely say, none of us really knew how many people would show up.
As usual, our community didn't let us down. So thanks to each of you, too.
I'm already looking forward to next year's festival and dash -- even if the 5K means I've got a year of training ahead of me.
I just hope Huddle House is ready.