Wednesday, June 23, 2010

04/03: April Fools Four-Mile Road Race

Ten Notes From A Race I Barely Remember (And That There Wasn’t That Much To Say About In The First Place, Which Is Why It Took So Long To Say Anything):

1. The average high for Salisbury (well, Lawrence, actually), Massachusetts, on April 4 is 51 degrees. This year it was 66 at 11:00 in the morning (it peaked at 79 in the afternoon) but with only 48% humidity, so while it wasn’t ideal running weather, it really wasn’t that bad, either. If they had started the race at 9:00, the temperature would have still been in the mid-fifties. I would have had to wake up earlier, though – there’s always a trade-off.

2. The course had its good points and its bad points – it was an out-and-back that was mostly flat and well-shaded, but kind of boring in a scenic, suburban sort of way. The one noticeable uphill came sans shade, so that wasn’t very nice, but it was near the end so you just had to suck it up and get over it.

3. The race was staged from the Winner’s Circle, a bar in, or at least on the outskirts of, Salisbury, Massachusetts. Massachusetts, and I think New England in general, has something we could use a lot more of here in Texas – running-centric bars. Because even down here, most runners I know don’t mind the idea of a beer or two dozen after a long, hard run.

4. Celebrity of the day was Sara Hall, U.S. womens road 5K champion in 2006 and wife of Olympic marathoner Ryan. She was the first female finisher in 21:34 which means that when she was crossing the finish line, I was starting to wonder if maybe they had forgotten to put out a marker for the third mile.

5. After the race I thought, man, I could go for a beer right now – which worked out well because they had some from Harpoon Brewery.

6. There was an older gentleman running around with a neatly-trimmed beard on exactly one-half his face. I’m not sure what was up with that but going on three months later it’s still memorable. In a creepy sort of way.

7. For all the ubiquity of Starbucks, I had a tough time finding coffee before this race. Partially because I’m too much of a control freak to patronize Dunkin Donuts, where they have kind of a heavy hand with the milk.

8. My plan was to run the first two miles as hard as I could and struggle through the last two as best I could. The results overall were better than I expected – 30:50 with splits of about 7:15, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:05 – but I was hoping the first two miles would each be about fifteen seconds faster.

9. Coincidentally, I think it also took me 30:50 to finish my postrace beer. I’m pacing myself, sergeant.

10. The biggest disappointment was not getting a shirt; you had to preregister to get one. At the time I though they looked pretty cool but now I can’t remember what they looked like so, in retrospect, I guess I’m not that disappointed.

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