It’s 6:00 p.m. It’s pitch black outside. The temperature hovers in the twenties. It’s New Year’s Eve. What are you doing?
If you’re in Fairfax City, you may be standing at the corner of Main Street and University Drive, waiting to step off for the annual “Fairfax Four Miler” sponsored by the City of Fairfax and Pacers Running Stores.
This race has been a Fairfax tradition since 2008. Each year, it grows in numbers. Tonight there were 1.750 runners braving the elements.
Having run this race every year, I can tell you that the primary mission is: survival. For that reason, the runners were bundled up like polar bears. We waited for the count-down, then heard the starting horn from the Hon. R. Scott Silverthorne. And off.
Up the hill to George Mason University ran the seventeen hundred (and fifty). We took a left at Patriot Circle and plunged into the empty campus. The only sound was the slap of running shoes and labored breathing.
Two miles later, we had emerged from the campus and turned for home. Down the hill loomed the twinkling lights of City Hall. A single cowbell was pealing somewhere in the dark. A note of encouragement or a random Mississippi State supporter?
About 200 yards from the finish, I decelerated and considered the challenges of the now-finished year. Cases won, cases lost. Debates in the Senate, debates with myself. Children growing older; becoming their own people.
Then I crested the final hill by Sager Avenue (right by my own law office) and saw the finish line ahead. I strolled in with a time of 32 minutes and 20 seconds. Goodbye to the Year of Running Slowly.
After the race, I walked into the Old Fire Station (nee the Firehouse Grill) and ordered a draft for me and anyone else who wanted one. My mother was there to greet me. It was her 52nd wedding anniversary today, should my father be alive. For years, my Dad and I used to meet and have a drink at “the Firehouse” after every New Year’s Eve race.
A c0ld run, a warm bar, a frosty beer. We’ll see you 2014.