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, 3 of 3

Hynes Tavern 5-miler, 3/14, Lowell, MA
Net Time: 49:05, mile avg: 9:50

Woke up at 8:45am, unsure if the faint smell of beer was coming from me or from the massive amount of empties left from the Epic St. Patty's Day Party.  While I wasn't hungover (thanks, Mom and Dad, for the excellent purification system), I was SUPER tired.  I must be getting too old for 4:30am bedtimes.  Still, I eventually roused myself and headed downstairs and tiptoed amongst the overnight guests to get ready.

There was new fallen snow/slush on the ground in Hillsboro.  I knew Lowell wouldn't have snow, but it would be cold, rainy, and likely windy.  I borrowed some nifty techie thermal undies from My Runner (thanks babe!), toasted a bagel, downed a cuppa, and headed out.

I'm glad I bundled up as much as I did.  I arrived with plenty of time to nap a bit in my car before heading to the starting line.  The turnout was smaller than the race directors had anticipated, but still pretty impressive.  I was struck by how nonchalant the start was.  The last two races had national anthems, this one had nothing but a guy yelling "Go!" on a bull horn.  Another runner commented about the inability to purchase a gun in Lowell, and I realized that gunshots in Lowell are probably NOT the safest way to start a race.

I was apprehensive about this race.  It's the longest in the series and I had the worst training week.  I ran one... maybe two days since the prior race, plus hockey.  Not really a good way to prepare for my longest race to date.  I had even briefly considered not going, but halted that thought process pretty quickly.  My Runner rightly pointed out that the finishers medal would look super lame with just two of the three pieces, and that thought got me out there.  Now, to keep me going forward.

The first mile was pretty easy.  Wearing my new waterproof EMS jacket and a hat, I stayed relatively dry.  My hands were raw, but it was warm enough with my hood up that they would warm up soon.  But I was going too fast.  I could feel myself pushing, wanting to get out of the weather, not enjoying the run.  I needed a pacer.  So I found one.  A woman, a little shorter than me, with a long thick brown ponytail, wearing the Frozen Shamrock race shirt and a vest.  She was running with an easy stride, passing a few folks but mostly just running.  Something about her speed and the way she was running spoke to me.  So, like the creepy stalker that I am, I ran behind her.

I don't know why I didn't run up and talk to her.  I wasn't feeling very communicative that day (having turned down the generous offer from Face to accompany me to the race- I didn't want anyone to have to stand in the rain for an hour just to see me run by).  Sometimes I followed her closely, sometimes I let her get a bit ahead. Just after the 3 mile mark we went down a hill where she was just more willing to pound than I was.  I was getting tired and needed to throttle back to make it another mile and change.  She never had more than about a 20 second lead on me, which on a city course meant I could still see her most of the time.  After the race I found her, went up to her, and thanked her, letting her know that she pulled me and challenged me at the same time.  She seemed surprised, but totally happy.

While there were hills on this course, the most challenging aspect was the weather.  Rain, yeah, chilly, yeah, WIND oh yeah.  Running through a cemetery we were all blasted by a headwind that made the rain fall sideways.  Getting to the finish line felt like sprinting even though I was running at the same pace.

This is the one race I did not get my free beer.  Figuring I'd had enough beers the previous night, and my pants and shoes combined weighed an extra 10 lbs with the water, I was ready for home.  I was tired, but it felt damn good to have my finisher's medal.

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1 Comments:

  • At 10:45 AM , Blogger Heather said...

    Wow, dude. That pre-race nap in the car would've been my absolute UNDOING. So proud you got out there and kicked it.

     

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