It turned out that the race started at 4 in the afternoon, which is a bit unusual, but fitting with the after-race events. Not long after I arrive I hear my name called and see my friend John and his son, and a short time later the rest of his family comes up, with some others who drove into town for the weekend. This is John and I in the photo as we are looking into the sun and wind.
The afternoon is a bit warm, so I figure conditions are not great for a good running time but I do resolve to have a good time while running. The race starts out on a road but hits a wide running trail in about a 1/4 mile or so. While getting near 1 mile, my side was hurting a bit because of the effort, but I hit the first mile in 9:20, which is definitely fast for me, and faster than I should be running. After this I throw in a 30 - 45 second walk break about every 5 minutes or so. I figure I am doing OK, but not my best, so I hope for a time in the 32 - 34 minute range. As I come near the end and the finish line comes into sight, the clock is crossing 30 minutes and I coast across in 30:20, getting a new PR by 50 seconds and I was cheered across by my friends and their family. Here's a photo of me crossing the finish line.
After the race all runners get huge plates of crawfish, plus any other concession type food is available to all for a reasonable cost and a live band play zydeco music. After a time we learn John finished first master's male finisher, and we explain to his wife (Carol) how that is better than first place in the age division (which he otherwise won by 2 minutes). I had a great time with my friends and their family, it was nice being with them all in a happier setting from recent times. After 90 minutes or so, we leave and I am invited back to their house for drinks, s'mores and conversation around a small backyard bonfire before leaving around 11 that night to make the short drive home (we live in the same community).
It turned out to be my best day in a long time.