Last Sunday I headed down to New Bedford with Kristen and Danny for their annual half marathon. It was my third time at this race, so it's become a bit of a tradition. Now that I've been running for a bunch of years, some races like Hyannis and New Bedford have become my favorites. I can't decide if I like creating "traditions", or if it makes me boring, predictable, and unwilling to try new things. I must really be a sucker for this race though, because the first year I ran it, I got sick on the way home, and the second year I had to make an emergency porta-potty stop after several miles of aggressively praying I wouldn't mess myself.
We got to the race super early, and even though it meant a lot of waiting around, I'm glad we got there when we did. We were able to park right at the YMCA parking lot and not have to worry about the shuttle or side street parking. This year the race venue featured heightened security which caused some drama at number pickup. Kristen and I walked in with our purses, in case they asked for ID. Outside the building we had to wait in line to have our purses searched (okay, I can understand that), and then had a tag affixed to the purse indicating it had been searched. Good to go, right? Nope. We get into the building and we are informed we can't take our purses, that had just been searched and tagged, into the gymnasium to pick up our numbers. We could, however, carry the purses anywhere else in the building, including the restrooms, locker rooms, and weight rooms. I understand the need for security, but it didn't seem like they were using common sense in this case. So we had to hold each other's purses while we went to get our numbers, and then since we couldn't hang out in the gym we just used the restrooms and headed back to the car.
Hanging out in the car wasn't so bad, and it seems like everyone else was doing that too. We didn't want to spend a lot of time outside because it was freezing and so windy! It gave us a chance to relax, at least until we saw all the cops walking through the parking lot with bomb sniffing dogs. (Well, it's New Bedford, so they could have just been regular drug sniffing dogs on their normal Sunday patrol). Danny wanted to go talk to the cops but we didn't want to look suspicious so we made him stay in the car. Finally we had our last bit of pre-race nutrition and headed out to the start line.
|Only Kristen could look this elegant drinking Pepto|
We met up with Sarah and Peter, also members of our running club, and they all had to stand around and wait a good 15 minutes for me to get through the porta-potty line. Once I was in the porta-potty, I really took my time. It was a little warmer, and no wind. You know it's cold and windy when you'd rather stand in a porta-potty than stand outside!
We got over to the start line and stood in the sun as long as possible before heading into the corral.
|Kristen, Moi, Danny, Peter, Sarah. PS - I didn't get the memo we were supposed to all dress like matching ninja's.|
This year I decided not to wear my fuel belt, and to bring an iPod. I don't know why I periodically think it's a good idea to bring an iPod, because I always end up fussing around with it so much, it ends up making me nuts. In this case, by mile 5 my ears were too sweaty for the "guaranteed to stay in" ear buds to stay in, and finally I just let the right one dangle.
The course itself was just as I remembered. Freezing, windy, and a wide variety of scenery. There's the two faux-hills before the real hill at mile 3, then down down down to the water. The crowds were out in full force despite the brisk day, but I was surprised to see hardly anyone dressed up for St Patrick's Day. Last year it seemed like every runner was wearing green, but that wasn't the case this year. I did see one creepy looking leprechaun on the side of the road. I passed Dick and Rick Hoyt, which is always inspiring, and then a lady with a sign on her back that said "Baby on Board". My goal for this race was to beat my time at Hyannis, which was 2:11:45. I didn't need to beat it by much, but I wanted my overall pace to be under 10 minute miles. For the first 8 miles that seemed locked in, but then I faded at mile 9. Again! This happens every year at this course and I don't for the life of me know why. I'm going to blame the wind coming off the ocean. I really struggled for a few miles there, walking through water stops (and continuing to walk a bit after them). I think the only reason I didn't walk more in those last few miles was because it was so windy I was freezing and just wanted to be done! I gave myself a huge mental pat on the back when I passed the porta-potty that I assaulted last year without having a repeat performance. I slowly made my way up the hill at mile 12, which for some reason doesn't bother me as much as some people. So many people were walking going up that hill, so it kind of makes me feel good to pass people late in the race. There was one lady I had been following pretty much for 12 miles leading up to that point. Sometimes we would trade positions, but for the most part she was in front of me. She was walking up the hill at mile 12. It would've been great of me to say something like, "hey, I've been following you for 12 miles, let's go and finish this together!", but I didn't. For one, I was so tired I probably would have said "hey!", and drool would've fallen out of my mouth and I would've scared her way. And also, sometimes you just don't know what someone else's journey is, so I just passed her and never looked back. I hit the top of the hill and then (best finish line ever) it slopes back downhill, around a corner, and a nice flat straightaway to the finish line. Phew! Man I was glad to be done with that race!
I met up with Kristen, Danny, and Sarah, who had all finished well before me. Kristen and I headed back to the car to change while Danny and Sarah waited for Peter. All warmed up and dry, we headed over to Hibernia Irish Pub for some post-race drinks! The place was mobbed, but my friend Chris was bartending there and we quickly got some seats at the bar and settled in for a nice afternoon of draft beer and chicken wings! Chris was one cool cat behind the bar (and pretending to drink my beer).
He was also praised for his Thor-like qualities. The next day at work I told him about the Thor comparison, to which he admitted, he didn't know who Thor was. (WHAT??!??!). I had to educate him.
And one last thing... race photos came out today from Capstone Photography. I always cringe, but can't help but look. And here we go...
|What? No, I'm not a heel striker. What makes you think that?|
|Temporarily warm enough to take my gloves off for a bit|
I finished in a time of 2:10:30, so I met my goal of (barely) beating my time at Hyannis. Of course, then I get an auto-generated email from the timing company, which happens to mention that this was 5 minutes slower than last year's time. I guess this is the price I pay for creating racing "traditions"!