This is how Squantum 5 went down last year:
Ally and I got stuck in abominable traffic on 93, arrived late – really late. Quickly checked in. Ran to the starting line while putting our bibs on. En-route to the starting line we watched as the race officials were walking the clock to the finish area – 3 minutes into the race…. As I was running with my gear bag in hand, an official called out for me to throw it to him and that it would be waiting for me at the finish. Ally and I ran across the start line and I ran like the devil was in me, catching up to the main body of runners by ¾ of a mile. With a line of solid runners by the first big hill, and kept pulling all the way through the desolate marshy trail area and over the finish line – thus PRing my five miler time, all thanks to the miracle of chip timing.
That’s how it happened. Except for everything after the dash. That didn’t happen. There was no chip timing. I crossed the finish line in 39:36 last year in agony and felt somewhat betrayed.
This year was different. Ally and I decided to run this very last minute, which we essentially did last year, too – so that much was the same. But, we got there early. As in an hour and a half early. We checked in, hung out, caught up. We headed over to the starting line around 15 minutes to start. The weather was depressing. Dense fog, drizzling, and heavy humidity. But, we lined up, they blasted the horn, and we started running. As always I promised to try and pace myself, the first mile was a 6:24 – -still pretty fast. But I felt good. Then we hit the hills. If you read the website, they make it sound like there’s one big 400 meter long hill and then it’s smooth sailing from there. Let me clear this up for you my friends – it isn’t that easy. You hit the first hill about 1 ¼ miles in, it’s long. I felt good going up it. I’m not the strongest uphill runner (or downhill for that matter) so I just did my best to maintain a solid pace. Then it flattens out, you run down, and then up another hill, then down, they take a turn and go down, then take a turn and go back up. There’s about 1.5 miles of roller coaster hill running. My second two splits were decent and 7:04 and 7:03. I felt like I was still running well through the third mile, but it wound up being a perilously slow 7:22. I decided to give it all I had for the last mile, which takes you through a field area and then down a muddy mosquito ridden trail. There were some massive puddles that had to be avoided, which if I had just manned up and gotten muddy, I probably would have run a sub 7 final mile, it wound up being 7 flat. I crossed the finish in 35 and change. A little bit of redemption.
I waited for Ally while battling the swarms of mosquitos following me like a harem. We high fived and then both quickly went home. Last year we stayed for the after party and had a beer. One of the highlights of this course is how beautiful it is. Much of it is along the water and on the return you can see Boston hovering like a mirage in the distance. With the weather though, I just wasn’t in the mood.
If, last minute, I decide to run this race again, remind me to reread this post so I can remember that there is more than one hill.
It’s two weeks until the Mass Dash Relay. I have the longest composite mileage at a little over 21 miles of everyone in my van. The next two weeks I’m training. Hard. I need to channel my inner Dathan Ritzenhein and get in shape quick.
I’m only $75 dollars away from reaching my goal for fundraising for the Jimmy Fund when I run Mass Dash – won’t you be my neighbor and donate?