I’m usually tired on Mondays. But, who isn’t? Today, I am especially so.
Yesterday I ran the 41st Falmouth Road Race, and I’m feeling it today, mind, body, and soul. Leading up to this race, it seemed like the running gods were saying ‘don’t do it, dude’. And here’s why: I hadn’t adequately trained (my own fault, of course). This isn’t to say that I didn’t train at all, just not as much as I wanted to, that’s all. I went to an allergist last week, was poked by 40 needles and 40 allergens and found out I’m apparently allergic to the Earth. A friend that had borrowed my gps watch during Mass Dash somehow broke or otherwise detached one of the bands and could not locate said missing band. And, it also took me nearly 5 hours of fighting Cape traffic to barely make it to the expo on time. But, after going through all that trouble of getting there, you know I had to run.
I was able to stay overnight at a friend’s place in Bourne, about 20 minutes away from Falmouth, who was also running the race. We got up early to headed over to the middle school where a fleet of school busses conveyed us to the start area in Wood’s Hole. The race didn’t start until 10am, so I had about 2 hours to kill. I wandered around the staging area. I was fortunate enough to get a low bib number (#621) and starting in the second corral, so I had liberty to roam pretty much wherever I wanted. Runners with higher numbers in higher corrals could only move from their corral area to higher corral area. I made the most of my freedom, hung out by the harbor, sat in the shade, ran into Matt Corr (who was seeded behind me. What you got now, Matt Corr? *note, Matt would shortly smoke me in the actual race). Closer to the race time, I headed over to my corral and hung out with Matt and another RaceMenu runner, Ashley. The same friend that had borrowed my gps watch let me borrow his, but I wasn’t able to locate a satellite. The wheel chair racers took, off, then the elite women, then the horn sounded and the whole race was off.
The streets for the race are narrow, so the first several hundred meters I spent weaving and dodging and trying to find a steady pace, which was not an easy task. With nearly 13,000 runners on the roads, I can’t imagine what the scene was like further back. When people tell you about the first few miles of this it tends to fall into two categories – they are 1) brutal or 2) ‘rolling’ hills. I think the truth is somewhere between. While I wouldn’t quite call them rolling, they aren’t nearly as misery inducing as I was preparing for. However, I am a sub-par hill runner (both up and down). So, between the jockeying for position, lack of pace information, doing my best to attack the hills, I knew I was far off of a competitive pace for me. So, I decided to take a different approach and just enjoy the race – take in the scenery, high five a few kids, smile even. And, it was pretty great! I saw Frank Shorter (last American to win the gold medal for the marathon in the ’72 Olympics). I ran past the Hoyts. I passed elite miler Dave Torrence out for a leisurely jog (in the last 2 miles, he picked up the pace and blew by me). All in all it was pretty awesome. But, even while taking it ‘easy’, the course will still challenging. Once the hills flatten out, we turned onto the beach road where I felt like I was running through Death Valley. It was hot, the sun was beating down without a cloud in the sky, and not a hint of breeze was coming off the water. Around mile six Meg spotted me and shouted a few words of encouragement. I hit the 6.2 mile mark but decided to just keep going steady rather than pick it up because some sadistic individual opted to have the finish line after a final hill. After making the climb, it is literally all downhill to the finish. I chugged along and up the hill, and then stretched my legs out for the downhill run to the finish. With about 75 meters to go, a woman who I had passed before the hill was coming up fast on my right hand side. I just couldn’t let that happen, and summoned the strength to give an all-out sprint that would have made even my high school self proud.
I crossed the finish line with no idea of my time, walked about another 7 miles until they give you water, had two awesome coconut Yasso frozen yogurt bars and waited for my friend to finish. On the way out, ran into Alain who clued me in to a few races I’m thinking about running in September, I’ll be sure to let you know what and when they are as soon as I check my calender. We headed back to her place, I took a quick shower and then headed out with a pretty epic sunburn with my eyes set on being in bed by 9:00 for the long workweek ahead
So, here’s the breakdown:
Place overall: 570/12,800
And bonus! I still look like I’m wearing my singlet when I take my shirt off.
Not so shabby for taking it easy.