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, 2 of 3

Claddagh Pub 4-miler, 3/7, Lawrence, MA
Net time: 39:10, mile avg: 9:48

My Runner called me at 8:25am to let me know he was almost at my house.  Wow, I thought to myself, he's running early.  Must be perky this morning.  Come to find out he thought we were leaving an hour earlier... whoops.  Not sure if that was my bad or his, but I felt kinda guilty about it...

I was feeling good, despite having returned from my sojourn to my alma matter with Pocket after midnight the previous night.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the high 50's.  We were meeting my Dad in Lawrence for the race- the first time My Runner and Dad would meet.  Dad was there around the time we were taking off from ManchVegas, giving him plenty of time to warm up his creaky old joints (ok, he's only 59, but he said it first.)

We found (dubious) parking and headed down to the Claddagh parking lot to meet up with Dad and get my number (My Runner was "bandit" running- he didn't pay the entrance fee and had no number).  We killed a little time with introductions and catching up, then headed over to the starting line where My Runner and I lead Dad to the back of the pack.  "How far back we goin'?" Dad quips.  I just wanted to be in the sun.  Plus it's more fun to pass people than to be passed.

Sidebar- most races play the national anthem before the start, like a traditional sporting event.  Often it's a recording, or it's some kid who sings in the local church choir/community theatre/karaoke contest who belts it out and sharps that high note.  Generally, it's awful and doesn't make me feel patriotic in the least.  The group that the Claddagh race director hired sang *beautifully.*  A trio of women (or girls, I couldn't actually see them) singing in a capella harmony, hitting every note in clear, strong, and blended voices.  I'm not a super patriotic person, but I was moved.

The race was an easy start, bringing us through downtown Lawrence before moving out into neighborhoods.  As I started the run I noticed I was leading, with Dad and My Runner a bit behind.  My Runner had just run a snowshoe marathon the day before, so I knew he wasn't at full strength.  But I was a little surprised my Dad was having trouble keeping up.  I checked to make sure I wasn't pushing it *because* of my Dad... and I wasn't.  Hmm... Still not sure if he was faking it, but in any case it made me feel pretty good about my very very average 9:30 mile.  Dad asked My Runner to snap some photos of us:

Lawrence is an ugly city.  I'm sorry.  I wish it wasn't, but even downtown had no redeeming qualities.  It's a good thing they put this race on, or I'm not sure why ANYONE would ever choose to visit.

As Dad and My Runner talked about races, Ultras, and folks they both knew (or knew of) I was struck (again) by how similar they are.  Yes, perhaps I am a cliché.  One thing I admire about my Dad (and My Runner) is that he says what he thinks, other people's opinions be damned.  There are plenty of times in life where this is a good quality.  There are also some times when this is socially awkward, like when Dad basically (but maybe jokingly) called My Runner a pussy for running with his Pops even though he had a slower pace.  I can't remember if THIS is the comment my Dad made that prompted me to call him an ass, or if it was another....  Seriously, what did he think *I* was doing at this race?  Did he think I was a pussy runner?  Was he a pussy runner if he was slowing down for me?  Dad has some good qualities, but he definitely IS an ass when he doesn't think about how other people will react to what he says.

The course is shaped like a lollypop: go in one way, loop around, and go back the way you came.  The loop around was really the only challenging part of the course, as it went up a significantly steep and long-ish hill.  Training in Hillsboro paid off.  It was challenging, no doubt, but more than do-able.  As we descend the hill, Dad turns to me, "I'm thirsty!" for beer, is the inference.  Another runner, a man about my Dad's age, comes up behind us.  "Me too!  Got any beer in those water bottles?"  We joke around for a bit with him as we headed back down to the finish line.

I kept pulling ahead, motivated by the sunshine, warm weather, and full bladder, but pulling back again not wanting to leave the guys.  As we round (and round) the final blocks, the finish line comes into view with the big clock just seconds away from 40:00 minutes.  I really wanted a sub-40 minute time.  Well, ok, I really wanted to sprint and let it all out.  I spit out an "I'm going for it" to the guys and bolted.

The guys were content to come in at their own pace.  Probably a good thing since my stomach was maybe a little pukey feeling after the sprint.

We collected our medals and headed in for our free beers.  There seemed to be pasta too, but my tummy was happy with just beer (is that a problem? nahhh...).  Dad was very complimentary towards my running, and I was happy to be able to run by his side.  After our free beers we headed back to MachVegas for some food and more socializing.

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