Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wild Rover Series, 1 of 3

J.P. McBrides 3-miler, "Frozen Shamrock," 2/28, Haverhill, MA
Net time: 27:45, mile avg: 9:20

The morning after the wildly successful Luau, I dragged myself out of my warm, comfy bed, scrambled up some eggs and toast, and checked the weather.  It was cloudy and chilly, but calm and dry- pretty much the conditions I'd been running in for the last month.  I gathered my usual running gear: Brooks, mittens and Lifesavers (for the last time this season), along with my newly found iPod (MiniMcL discovered it in the couch cushions during the Luau... what she was searching for in the couch cushions, I didn't ask...). I kissed My Runner goodbye and headed out to Haverhill.

I'm not gonna lie, I had butterflies in my stomach.  Not for running 3 miles, but because I hadn't raced since the Beaver Brook 5K in December.  I've said it before, but there's a certain feel about a race, an excitement that doesn't exist at a "run."  It's not just people, it's the ritual of the event, with it's "official" starting and finish line, electronic tracking devices, announcements, etc.  Did the pre-race dance of getting the number, the t-shirt, and the swag, then waited in line for the bathroom for 20 minutes.

The Wild Rover series, and I assume any beer/bar sponsored race, tends to be a social affair.  Folks were there in groups, chatting, many dressed in crazy Irish/St. Patty's Day outfits.  It was a fun scene, and not hard to make conversation with those around me.

I started closer to the front then I meant to, but held my own throughout the race.  My iPod was shuffling through my "workout" playlist; all the songs that were once tired and old felt new after a three month hiatus.  Shuffle was doing a masterful job of random-happenstance-coincidence as one great song after another played, perfectly matching my mood, my pace, and my surroundings.  It was hard not to sing along out loud, but I did let myself groove with it:

The batteries ran out pretty quickly (not having been charged).  I really didn't mind since I run without music most of the time anyways.  The folks near me weren't super chatty, so I filled my mind with thoughts of Haverhill as we moved into the Bradford area of town.  Parts of Haverhill were filled with Ye Olde New England Charm(TM), and parts were just plain run down or abandoned.  Zion Bible College has moved in to Bradford College's campus since the last time I was in Haverhill.  It was nice to see that area thriving again.  This was the most well-laid course of the three, I thought, as it took you over the Merrimack twice, over and under bridges, a few ups and downs and loops.

Post race was CHILLY, with volunteers handing out space-blankets.  Speaking of chilli, that's what they were serving at the finish line, along with chicken and split-pea soups.  Declined the tin foil cape space blanket, grabbed a chilli, and got into the beer line.  Rather than handing out tickets for free beer, JP McBrides had dedicated beer taps on the back porch.  There were 2 problems with this plan: 1)with only one tap, the beer line was LOOOOONG.  2)They had obviously set up the tap as the starting gun was fired, and the beer was really foamy.  I combated these issues by making pals with the two older gentlemen in front of me in line, chatting about this race and others, space blankets, and the merits of a totalitarian system of government.  Since the taps were so foamy, the bartenders were filling two cups for everyone, essentially providing me with a total of an entire pint of free beer.  It was Rolling Rock, so it's not like I won the lottery, but it was a nice gesture on their part.

Unfortunately, the nice gentlemen disappeared after retrieving beers, and I was left in the yard double fisting foamy brew with no companions.  I ambled around, looking for a situation or a conversation, but no go.  People were with their people, or looking for people, or not interested in new people.  It was the first time that day I was sad to be on my own at this race.  I shrugged and enjoyed my beer until I started shivering, then took that as a sign to head home, first of three finishers medals hanging proudly around my neck.

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