The Race #s:*these splits are according to my spacewatch and are not necessarily "official" however, they're all I've got. There is normally a 3-4 second delay when I hit start so I did note that the first mile split was 4 seconds faster than actual race times. As such, I've taken the liberty of simply adding 4 seconds to that mile split on my watch to match what is possibly the real splits. Others are off somewhere too but just so you can see relative trend(s):
1-5:47 6-6:03 58:48, 22nd overall.
2-5:47 7-5:50 Official results here
The Race Recap:
In usual Blessing fashion, I arrived almost two full hours early to pick up my bib # and sit around, thinkin' 'bout runnin'. After changing and texting Jonny (fresh off his trail 1/2 marathon in the morning!), I met up with him in the ball field parking lot as well as (randomly), with Galoob who had biked there. We ran a 2 mile easy, out and back warm up along the first part of the course (Galoob went farther) and then returned to the truck for final drinks and strolled to the start.
After fighting my way to the front I noticed a slew of not-so-familiar faces in the front corral, recognizable as simply "frenemies". During a few strides I ran into Marie Davenport who, after inquiring about my goals, wished me well. Settling back in near the front, Beth appeared out of the ether and wished me well too. Nice to see familiar faces from WTAC. Finally, after brief introductions we were off.
I held back slightly in the beginning but still was running a bit too spicy on the infamous gradual negative slope first mile. I enjoyed making mental notes of those that went by me during this first mile that I knew I was going to catch later on. Nothing special as we rolled through the second mile. I was on pace and happy, running alongside Ms Davenport. I figured if I could stick with (just behind) this former Irish Olympian, I'd be in great shape.
During miles three and 4, along Scarborough beach, there was a bit of a slight headwind which was noticeable enough to slow down the perceived pace. It was here that I made what is possibly my only major mistake of the race. I watched Marie and a pack of about 10-12 twenty-something year olds pull away from me. I didn't want to get hung out to dry here and go into the wind straight ahead and all alone. I pushed harder than necessary to try and stay with them but to no avail. I got gapped and was alone. The extra effort was probably not the smartest move on my part.
We finished up mile four (the only "official" split I definitely remember was mile 4 - 23:30) and swung out onto Rte 108 for the much maligned miles 5 and 6. No matter how hard I try here, I always find these to be my slowest miles of the race year after year. I was over 6:00 pace for mile six so obviously the trend continued. I still manage to reel in a very significant number of runners here (10-12?) but I struggle doing so. I took more water here and dealt with a crappy stitch in my left side. I never really get these so it was a treat trying to deal with it. Eventually it went away, but not until well into mile 7.
Finally, we turned off onto Kinney Avenue where I always feel like the real race starts. I passed 4-5 more people and settled in alongside a very thin and fit looking runner. At one point he mumbled something along the lines of "Go" or "Going great" or something akin to this. I asked if he was looking for sub-58 minutes or there about (at least that's how it sounded in my mind before it spewed from my mouth). He replied that he was shooting for low "58-ish". I told him to "take me home". He was able to mutter something about my Level Renner singlet, so I was "all set". Hmm.
As the complimentary guy and I passed back along by the start line I really began to struggle. I had another stitch (again?!?) and started to really feel like shit. Luckily, it seriously is advantageous to settle in behind someone and let them sort of pull you along. We continued along through into mile 9, up the small climb to Avice Street. I began feeling a tiny bit better, probably mostly due to mental awareness - the end is neigh!
Once we turned back out onto Kingstown Road I began picking up the pace. It's a long way to go to the finish but you have a slight yet noticeable downhill grade. Time to rip--except I was on fumes. Very disappointing to watch my running partner over the last few miles slowly pull away by 4-6 seconds. The mirage of all mirages taunted me ("where the *%$# IS that finish line?") but eventually I got there. I saw the clock and knew that not only was I not going to PR but I was going to end up running even slower than last year! Damn. To add insult to injury, I heard the announcer say my bib number and my name, followed up by "It looks like we might have our first female finisher!". Really? I know I finished up like a softy but seriously? I look like a female? Wow.
I milled around for about ten minutes chatting up the other guys and their amazing outputs (PRs galore!) and then ran a four mile cool down with Galoob. Later, after changing up, I met my parents at their friends' home where they entertained me with beer, food, and a fire.
A good day despite the slightly disappointing outcome. The conditions were perfect for a later July PR on this course. That is what is the most frustrating.
I awoke the next morning, (after sleeping in until almost 0800!), and ran an easy three mile shakeout. No time to dwell on the negatives, I had a huge day of cross training ahead of me.
I was SUPER excited to be involved in a bachelor party for a friend who is getting married in August. He is one of the co-owner/founders of Gnarly Bay, an AMAZING local company that produces absolutely amazing HD videos. They do some for fun/themselves but have also produced/worked with the likes of NASCAR, NFL Films, Katie Perry, and everything else. Chances are you've probably already seen their work, you just may not realize it. Below is a video of a party/video they put together for their brother in law a few years ago when he got married. They are the coolest guys I know, hands down. I was absolutely honored to be included in the festivities of the day.
|Bachelor Rambo--taking a break from rescuing POWs|
Anyway, this was not a normal bachelor party. It involved early morning abductions, a rented 1970s sheriff car (which mistakenly caught on fire), a moped, rowboats, spray on tans, Rambo outfit, paintball guns, swimming, explosions and fireballs from a real pyrotechnics company, firetrucks, smoke bombs, water balloons, mortars, paint bombs, wooden cages, slingshots, Vietcong outfits, fake guns, dunk tanks, barefoot soccer, BBQ, Kegkickball, Cornhole, Spike Ball, late night fireworks (I almost lost an eye!) and more. I got to be a "bad guy" VC foot soldier all day long. All of it was filmed and documented by Gnarly Bay film crews via multiple cameras! Major sweating, digging, running, crawling, screaming. I was exhausted! Why do the strippers/traditional boring bachelor party thing when you can play Rambo movie/war all day long, centered around kegs of good beer? Hopefully they'll be producing another video within the year to document this amazing outing. Look for me in my cameo appearance!
The event was best summed up by a fellow attendee and one of the P.O.W.s that were rescued: "If I were eleven years old, this would be the greatest fucking day of my life!". Indeed. I'm 36 and it is seriously in my top 5. But boy did I pay for it--I was exhausted and really banged up!
After sleeping in again, I awoke Sunday morning covered in welts (shot in the back multiple times while retreating into the underbrush) and super sore. Not sure how much was from the Blessing and how much was from playing Charlie all day. I rolled off a 10 mile loop in North Stonington, smiling during much of it and feeling good.
When I got home I reflected upon my weekend. I tried to crush a race and ran pretty well despite not succeeding fully. I'd rather fail at a big goal than not try for it and simply strive for and accomplish a mediocre one. I also got to play all day and night Saturday. 13 consecutive hours of playing war, party games, and eat drink and be merry antics will leave anyone smiling. I challenge you to try it and not have a blast doing it.
After showering, I checked my phone and saw that a friend had sent me the image below. The picture rounded out the weekend nicely and between the video above, the shenanigans from the weekend, and all of the friends that I surround myself with (childhood, school, running, etc.), it further cemented the fact that it really IS about having fun and making the most of the opportunities to do so.
|Get busy livin' or get busy dying.|