I can’t believe it’s done.
I learned something about myself and races. I love the training more than I love the actual race. I love the planning, scheduling and hitting new goals every week. I enjoy the race too, but it’s hard for me to be very competitive or put much effort because I think about how the 12,000 other people are totally more athletic than I am.
That said, this race was a blast. It started the night before when my sister, cousins and I had a sleepover at my grandmother’s house. I was actually in bed by 9pm because my insomnia hit the night before, and I only ended up getting 4-5 hours of interrupted sleep, but we got to play cards (Skip Bo, of course) for a couple hours, carb loaded with some pizza and attempted to answer my grandmother’s question: “Why are you doing this again?”
On Thanksgiving morning, we woke up at 7am, got dressed in layers leaving the T-shirts my sister and cousins made on top. Each shirt honored my grandfather with a teal ribbon painted on for prostate cancer awareness, a childhood picture of us with him and his year of birth and death. Across the back, above the photo, it read “Charlie’s Angels.” It was awesome, and they did a great job making them (they all live in the Boston-area while I’m down in New Jersey).
We got on the road just after 7:30, stopped at a ridiculously slow Dunkin Donuts for water, juice, coffee and bagels and then drove the 20-30 minutes to Manchester Community College where we parked and loaded school busses that shuttled us to the race site. Everything went REALLY smoothly (go, MRR organizers!), especially for a race that capped out at 15,000 participants and at least that many bystanders. And the busses were heated! Thank goodness, because it was a chilly 30-something degrees.
I thought the Philly Women’s Sprint Tri was a big race (1200 people, I think), but this was so much bigger. They capped the race at 15,000 runners/walkers. Many were wearing costumes. There were men in drag, people dressed as pilgrims, PacMan ghosts, corn on the cob and a group that was dressed as an entire Thankgiving dinner. I felt bad for the dude wearing the cardboard gravy boat costume. But nothing was as impressive as the guy who was fully encapsulated by a real, live Christmas tree–fully decorated. I can only imaging the chafing!
Go here for the pictures of costumes. Slide #37 has the guy decked out as a Christmas tree and #41 has the Turkey dinner, #81 has Napaolean Dynomite and his llama.
ditched left my sister and cousins in the line up of runners and proceeded to meet my friend Kate at the front of the Walker’s Mall. We were planning on running it, but I run 4-4.5 mph, so I knew standing with a crowd of folks that were going to finish the 4.748 mile race in 45 minutes wasn’t a good idea. I was hoping for under 75 minutes.
I haven’t seen Kate since we graduated high school in 1994, but we caught up quickly and talked the entire time. Her stepfather Ken also ran it and totally kicked our butts!
The first mile flew by. It was fairly flat and the crowd was dense. My toes were numb from the cold, but they warmed up within 1/2 a mile. People lined the streets cheering us on, playing music (there were a several bands and 3 different groups of bag pipers) and even handing out beers to runners. The second mile was All Up Hill. As in one full mile of an incline that was steep enough so that we could see not just the heads and shoulders of those in front of us, but their backs. I walked the entire second mile, especially since I just started using an inhaler for the exercise/cold induced asthma I now have so I struggled to keep my heart rate in the 160-170 range. Still, my pace was easily 4 mph. The next 2-3 miles was a combo of walking and jogging. If I felt the walkers were too densely packed or two slow, I jogged to slide through them and get some space. Kate ran the whole way.
We crossed the finish line 1 hour and 16 minutes (and some-odd seconds) after the gun start, which meant that I beat my goal of finishing in 1:15. Of course, I don’t know how much I beat that goal by because my timing chip never registered a start time. We started 6-8 minutes after the pack of elite runners, so I’m guessing my final time was 1:07-1:09.
The little bitches My sister and cousins–despite little to NO training –flew through the race. My sister finished in 48 minutes and my cousins were only a few minutes behind at the 53 minute mark.
And after that, it was time to go home. My mom had fresh pepperoni omelet, pumpkin bread and date nut bread ready to go. After stretching and showers, we were ready to bring on the turkey!
Would I do it again? Maybe. It was a great course, despite the monster hill, and the spirit of the race was fantastic. It didn’t feel like an uber-competitive race, which was nice too. Not so nice? The cold temps. Apparently, the race has never been cancelled, but it was delayed one year due to snow–they needed extra time to plow the course. This race DOES make me want to consider adding some 5ks in my repertoire though…