In the Paddock

Simply put, there is no substitute for good friends.

The morning of New Year's Eve a text message came in from one such friend, Rick Jordan.

"Hey, let's do something totally crazy to start off the New Year by meeting Charlie at 4:45 in the morning, knocking out 5-mile run. What do you think? Who's in?"

Another great friend, Dean Marcum, and I were on the receiving end of the text.

Nothing happened after the text. As in, neither of us responded.

Nothing.

Crickets.

Six hours later we got another message.

"Where are you guys, nothing back?"

Eventually I disclosed that even though I was signed up for the 5-mile Resolution Run at 2 p.m. the same day that I was "tempted to pull of the double," before fully committing with an "I'm in," just after 5 p.m.

Less than 12 hours later there we were, at the corners of East Third Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, taking the initial steps of the New Year and the first agonizing strides of a 5-mile run. Dean couldn't make it, unfortunately, due to a work commitment. I know (think?) he was with us in spirit.

Running around town at that hour was calming, albeit a bit tiring at the same time.

Not a soul was seen, except the occasional passing car and others that didn't seem to pay much attention to traffic lights. Thankfully they were off in the distance.

Even though it wasn't even 5:30 and the sun was still a ways from coming up, the last few yards of the run never felt so good. It was a great way to start the year, pounding the pavement with good friends, pushing out all the bad stuff from the night before (not to mention the entire holiday season) and taking pride in the fact that we might be the first in town to get a run in the books.

A half hour after that run I was tucked back into bed for a couple hours rest, before getting up and preparing to do it all over again.

Any thoughts of a fast time at the Resolution Run were out the door thanks to the first run, but seriously, who really cares if you're fast in a New Year's Day race. It's sort of like stressing for a Thanksgiving 5k. Just don't do it.

The Resolution Run turned out better than expected and it allowed time to catch up with more friends. It was a different group this time, but they were no less satisfied after soaking up the camaraderie of the day-after-indulgence exercise.

Needless to say it was a crazy way to start off the New Year, just as Rick described. And we wouldn't trade it for the world.