It was another freezing Saturday morning, waking up to the aftermath of yet another winter storm that dumped four inches on Friday. It left a glaze on almost every road leading into Haddonfield as TV weather folks warned about black ice.
Kings Highway was the start, finish and about a third of the Adrenaline 5k that snaked through town and it seemed like every block was framed like a canopy by decades-old trees and telephone lines and power wires.
It looked so serene but the potholes made you look down instead of up at the cascading snow, ice and slush which used gravity to bounce off your head, alternating about every 10 strides.
As I trudged along in the first half mile, the Haddonfield Fire Company barreled past me.
Talk about impressive. These guys were in full gear. First one carried the American flag. Then came the man holding the hose over his shoulder. Just as I was in awe of these guys, another came through, this one with an axe. The tool was eye-level, about three feet to my right. I was thinking of Lizzie Borden when another pothole popped up and I made an exit for stage left. I veered away as the last brave soul passed by carrying a hammer. I tipped my hat.
Next obstacle was the mom brigade, pushing strollers, each one equally decked out in top-line running gear and baby wheels. They, too, were dodging potholes, zig-zagging like Shady McCoy hitting the hole then bouncing outside. One post-race mention of them to our trusty running columnist made her eyes steam and nostrils flare and I thought her head was going to start spinning around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.
(Note to guy running with his girlfriend. Don't run four strides in front of her, turn around to talk to her while running backwards, and tell her to keep going. She was doing just fine, and you would have been a lot more encouraging running next to her and keeping your mouth shut.)
I glided along in the first mile, but the clock wasn't working, so I had no sense of time. The clock wasn't working at the start, either, so I figured I was anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute behind the clock time. The split at Mile Two was 23:29, so my fate was sealed.
The last half-mile dragged on and my tethered group was almost out of sight now. I quickly realized I had tons more work to do. Overall, I did see a runner or two go down or lose a shoe, so caution was the right choice.
At the finish, the adjusted chip time was 34:49, about a minute and a half slower than last year. That seemed about right, considering how far behind I am getting ready for Broad Street.
The town of Haddonfield on a Saturday morning has a certain charm to it. As I left the post-race brunch/snack at the Running Company store, I meandered back to my car.
A woman strolled up to me, stared at my bib and said, 'Gee, I didn't know they had a race today.'
She smiled and walked past me as one last snow pellet fell from the sky, making a poof sound as it hit and then disappeared.
The sun was out, the temperature was rising and no one would have thought there was a snowstorm the night before.
On deck is the Phillies 5K on Saturday.